Lesbian mother loses parental rights to ex-wife and sperm donor

LGBTQ+ activists in the US worry that the judge's ruling will set a "pretty bad precedent in the state of Oklahoma, and possibly beyond.”

photo of a 2-year-old boy playing with building blocks to illustrate the lesbian mother who lost her son's parental rights
Image: Caleb Woods via Unsplash

A judge in Oklahoma ruled earlier this week to remove the parental rights of a lesbian mother over her 2-year-old son, awarding full legal custody to her ex-wife and the sperm donor, who are currently dating.

Kris Williams and Rebekah Wilson got married in June 2019 while Wilson was six months pregnant. According to NBC News, the child was conceived via a “Known Sperm Donor Agreement” using the sperm of Harlan Vaugh in September 2018. After the boy was born in August 2019, both Williams and Wilson were listed on the birth certificate.

The couple raised the boy together for more than two years until their marriage ended in November 2021. After they split, Wilson saught a Victim Protective Order against Williams and moved in with Vaughn, the sperm donor. Since then, Williams and Vaughn started dating, had another child, and are now seeking legal recognition as the boy’s parents.

County District Judge Lynne McGuire ruled in favour of the biological parents, stating that there is no evidence of a mother-son relationship as “she didn’t give birth to the child and she didn’t adopt the boy.”

“Williams testified that she didn’t believe it was fair that she would have to seek court intervention to establish parental rights of the minor child… The reality is that the law provides a legal remedy available to Williams. She knowingly chose not to pursue it,” stated Judge McGuire when arguing that the lesbian mother could have pursued adoption, ensuring her parental rights, prior to the divorce.

Furthermore, Judge McGuire also stated that Oklahoma’s Uniform Parentage Act “does not take into account same-sex marriage, and there is no presumption that the wife of the mother is automatically presumed the parent of a child born during the marriage.”

Robyn Hopkins, Williams’ attorney, commented on the case questioning, “why do gay people have to have a home study and a background check to adopt their own children and pay upwards of a couple thousand dollars and go to court to make it official?”

Since the judge’s decision, LGBTQ+ activists are worried about the repercussions of the ruling as it might “set some pretty bad precedent in the state of Oklahoma, and possibly beyond,” especially considering the United States’ current climate in regard to the future of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.
According to Williams’ attorney, they will file an appeal to the ruling with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

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