New Hampshire Supreme Court Rules that a Parent is a Parent, Regardless of Gender

Overturning a lower court decision in In re Madelyn B, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has recognized that a non-birth mother, formerly in a lesbian relationship with the birth mother, may be legally deemed a parent with all the rights and responsibilities that status entails.

Recognizing that “children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their lives,” the Supreme Court decision affords Madelyn B, now 12-years-old, the opportunity to be reunited with the parent she’s known her entire life but hasn’t seen in 16 months.

The Supreme Court determined that the governing statute’s use of the term “father” to depict a non-birth parent embraced non-birth “mothers” as well, and that presumptions of parenthood are not driven by biology but rather by the state’s interest in the welfare of the child and the integrity of the family.

Firm attorneys Cathy Connors, Lawrence Edelman, Michele Kenney, and Katherine Kayatta worked with Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in developing an amicus brief on behalf of several civil rights organizations, and also helped develop the oral argument delivered by a GLAD attorney.