January 23, 2010

Statement on the Kentucky Supreme Court Second Parent Adoption Ruling

YubaNet.com -- The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld a joint custody arrangement for a one-time lesbian couple who were rearing a child together before splitting up. On Friday, the Commonwealth's highest court ruled that the couple reached a valid custody agreement and that one of the women, Arminta Jane Mullins, acted as a "de facto parent" in compliance with Kentucky Revised Statues with her partner, Phyllis Dianne Picklesimer.

The decision reversed a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling saying Mullins lacked standing to pursue joint custody of the child, now 5, because she isn't a biological parent.

Halyn Roth, Southern Kentucky Director for Kentucky Equality Federation stated: "I am glad that the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled in favor of just one aspect of what our organization believes in. But this is just a first step. Kentucky Equality Federation, along with other civil rights organizations throughout the Commonwealth, must work together to ensure that every Kentuckian is treated fairly and has the same rights as every other Kentuckian. Equality must prevail."

The two women conceived a child through artificial insemination and Picklesimer gave birth to a boy in May 2005. The couple filed a joint custody agreement in 2006.

Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer stated: "Today we are proud to be Kentuckians; we are proud that our highest court recognized the rights of the second parent in this second parent adoption."

Palmer continued: "Though we realized things go wrong in relationships, the best interest of the child must be paramount. Same-sex couples give as much love, encouragement, and protection as opposite-sex couples. This ruling in favor of the second parent in second parent adoptions secures the rights of the second parent throughout the Commonwealth."
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