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Kansas Supreme Court Affirms Rights of Non-Biological Parents

By Neal Broverman

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Friday that same-sex partners who help raise children are entitled to parental rights.

The case involved Marci Frazier and Kelly Goudschaal, a couple who had two children through insemination. Goudschaal was the biological mother, but both women raised the children. When the couple separated in 2008, the couple attempted to co-parent, but Goudschaal eventually cut off contact from Frazier.

A lower court ruled that Frazier had parental rights to the children, granting joint custody to both women. Goudschaal appealed this order, saying her former partner was not a parent to the children. The high court agreed with the earlier ruling and granted Frazier joint custody and declared that both women should be legally recognized as parents. The court also ruled that agreements to share custody and co-parent are enforceable.

"The Kansas Supreme Court recognized that children with same-sex parents have the same need for stability and protection as children in any other family," Cathy Sakimura, Family Law Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which filed a friend of the court brief on the case, said in a statement. "We are grateful to the court for this thoughtful decision protecting the best interests of children in all families."

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