Arizona Supreme Court Says Gays Get Equal Parental Rights

Home Arizona Supreme Court Says Gays Get Equal Parental Rights

October 9, 2017
All About Arizona News

On Tuesday, the Arizona Supreme Court made a ruling that, under the US Constitution, same sex couples are entitled to equal parenting rights as compared to heterosexual couples.

The ruling came in the case of Kimberly McLaughlin v. Hon. Jones/Suzan McLaughlin. The Tucson couple had a son through artificial insemination while married to Suzan in 2011. The couple, now separated, had agreed on shared parenting but Kimberly opposed this post-break up. However, the court sided with Suzan, stating that she is allowed to the same rights as her spouse.

The state’s highest court went even further than their ruling that lesbian women divorcing their spouses have the same rights as opposite sex couples, though. The court drilled the Arizona legislative bodies that they need to rewrite their laws in an effort to avoid case-by-case litigation.

The court reached their ruling by citing the 2015 US Supreme Court decision on legalizing gay marriage nationwide. The Arizona court argued that because that because the right to marriage is the same, so too are the rights surrounding that marriage. Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales wrote, “It would be inconsistent with Obergefell to conclude that same-sex couples can legally marry but states can then deny them the same benefits of marriage afforded opposite-sex couples.

Of course, this decision has been met with opposition. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Clint Bolick wrote the decision was “unnecessary, unwise, and beyond the proper scope of judicial power.” He later wrote “It is not the paternity statute that is unconstitutional but rather the absence of a mechanism to provide parenthood opportunities to single-sex couples on equal terms appropriate to their circumstances.” Pro-family groups and the top prosecutor in Maricopa County have supported his dissent.

Justice Bales, though, had already addressed this concern in his writing. He stated, “Through legislative enactments and rulemaking, our coordinate branches of government can forestall unnecessary litigation and help ensure that Arizona law guarantees same-sex spouses the dignity and equality the Constitution requires.”

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