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Arizona Supreme Court Mulls Parental Rights In Same-Sex Divorce

A lawyer for a gay woman getting divorced told the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday that his client is entitled to the same rights of parenthood to a child born during the marriage as if she were a man.

Attorney Shannon Minter said, according to state law, the husband of a woman who gives birth within 10 months of a marriage is presumed to be the parent — regardless of how the child is conceived.

“I can't stress enough that we are asking for exactly the same substantive legal treatment as would apply to an opposite-sex married couple using artificial insemination to have a child,” Minter said.

He said his client, Suzan McLaughlin, should have the same parental rights to the son born in 2011 as the boy’s biological mother, which a lower court agreed with last year.

But the boy’s biological mother, Kimberly McLaughlin, is appealing that verdict. Kimberly McLaughlin’s lawyer says Arizona law does not establish any rights in artificial insemination cases —if the non-biological parent is the same sex.

Stina Sieg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2013 to 2018.