In an important ruling benefiting children of unmarried couples, particularly children of same-sex couples, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Oct. 4, 2016 that the Commonwealth’s parenting statute, which guarantees the equal treatment of marital and non-marital children, must be read to include parent-child relationships that do not involve a biological link. Specifically, the court held that a non-biological parent who is not married to the child’s other parent has standing under the statute to establish full legal parentage of her child, where the couple together chose to conceive and raise the child together, and held the child out as theirs. This reversed a lower court ruling dismissing the complaint based on the lack of a biological connection.
Ropes & Gray represented a broad coalition of amici curiae committed to child welfare and LGBT rights in Massachusetts—including Greater Boston Legal Services, Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, Community Legal Aid, the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, and others. Ropes & Gray worked alongside Mary Bonauto and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who represented the petitioning parent in her merits brief.
The amicus brief team at Ropes & Gray included business & securities litigation partner C. Thomas Brown and business & securities litigation associate Timothy Farrell.
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