Colorado

Jul 30, 2014 8:27 PM by Eric Ross

Child custody laws unclear with same-sex couples

A Fremont County mother is fighting for custody of her son after she and her partner split up.

Although the two agreed to be involved in the child's life, gay and lesbian rights in the court system aren't clearly defined in situations like this.

Most lawyers won't even touch cases on this topic because there's too many "unknowns" and no clear "black and white" laws.

Because this case is still going through the court system, we agreed not to list any names or show the faces of the parties involved.

It's a sensitive topic that gets even seasoned attorneys like Ann Gushurst emotional.

"Some of these stories are so heartbreaking, it makes me tear up," she said.

This particular case involves a child.

A couple had a baby through assisted reproduction. For two years, the two were involved in the child's life before things went south.

The mother who gave birth to the child wanted full custody, and cut off communication with her former partner.

"There was in a twist in that they separated before the baby was born, but they continued to act as parents in certain ways although one parent had more power than the other," Gushurst said. "I got involved because of the horrific injustices that have happened to some of my clients as a result of not having recognition of their relationship."

Although this particular couple had been married, their marriage is not recognized under the law.

"If this had been a heterosexual couple, the father would have had rights," Gushurst said.

Under title 19 of the Colorado Children's Code, if you go through assisted reproduction, the husband who consents to his wife being inseminated is the legal father.

This rule does not apply to gay couples.

"We don't see lesbians as family units," Gushurst said. "We don't see gay couples who are males as family units and that's what the Defense of Marriage Act does and that's why these unconstitutional laws need to be changed because they are harming children now."

No word yet on when a ruling in this case will be handed down.

Stay with KOAA.com for any new updates.

 

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