New York State's Definition of 'Parent' Just Changed for the First Time in 25 Years

Go, New York!

two moms and sleeping baby
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The definition of what it means to be a parent has changed for the first time in 25 years in New York state. Yup, go ahead and bask in that news!

Unbelievably, since 1991, a legal parent could only be someone who was either biologically or adoptively related to a child.

But according to the Huffington Post, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam ruled Tuesday that parental rights can now be sought if "a partner shows by clear and convincing evidence that the parties agreed to conceive a child and to raise the child together."

The cases of two lesbian couples who separated after having kids together spurred this new ruling, handed down by the state's highest court. The Post reports that in each case, the nonbiological mothers were denied visitation rights with their kids. And it's reasonable to assume that many, many other partners in same-sex couples in New York also suffered at the hands of the outdated definition of what a legal parent is.

"In light of more recently delineated legal principles, the definition of 'parent' established by this Court 25 years ago... has become unworkable when applied to increasingly varied familial relationships," Judge Abdus-Salaam said in the ruling.

Supporters of the decision say it will benefit both parents and children, who may also have been denied the benefits of having two parents in their lives. Until now.

You go, New York!

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.

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