Same-sex couple in Hawaii face unprecedented custody battle

Marriage-Alliance-Australia-Hawai-Same-sex-couple-custody.jpgAfter her request to sever her rights to her child was denied, a woman in Hawaii, identified only as CC, is appealing her custody case to the Hawaii Supreme Court. The case is unique, because the woman has no biological connection to the child; the child was born via artificial insemination while CC on deployment. Her wife, known as DD, says that the decision to have the child was mutual, while CC claims otherwise.

The couple, who were married in 2013, had discussed the idea of having children, but CC says she did not give final consent. Nevertheless, DD became pregnant with donor sperm while CC was deployed in 2015, and the child was born after the couple had started their divorce process. 

When the case was first brought before a family court, it was dismissed on the grounds that Hawaii’s Uniform Parentage and Marriage Equality Act determines a woman’s legal spouse to be the parent of any children born during the marriage, but CC appealed the case.

DD’s lawyer, Peter Renn, claims that CC is simply trying to weasel out of paying child support to DD, but CC insists that she did not want the child and does not have any meaningful relationship with him/her.

Renn stated:

Families are formed in different ways but the same rule applies: when a married couple decides to bring a child into this world, that child has two legal parents, regardless of their gender. A non-biological parent can't invoke biology as a shield to evade parental responsibilities.

The verdict on the case is yet to be delivered, but when it is, it will set an important precedent in the strange new world of same-sex marriage law.  Does “marriage equality” also mean equality of obligations in parental responsibilities, or will separate laws apply to same-sex parents? No matter the outcome of the case, the effect that the case will ultimately have on the child cannot be good. If there’s one thing we can learn from this case, it’s that the kids always lose. Because parents are so preoccupied with what they think is best for themselves, the child is adversely affected, and the effects can last a lifetime.

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