LGBTQ advocates urge Pennsylvania Supreme Court to affirm lesbian mother’s parental status

363
Rainbow circle with family and a child

A coalition of LGBTQ legal and advocacy groups has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, urging the court to affirm the parental status of Nicole Junior, a lesbian mother involved in the case Glover v. Junior. The case concerns Junior, a non-genetic, non-gestational mother who, with her now-former spouse, planned to conceive and raise a child through assisted reproduction.

In Dec. 2023, the Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned an earlier decision and recognized Junior’s legal parentage, citing evidence such as agreements signed by both Junior and her former spouse related to the assisted reproduction. The Superior Court ruled that Junior’s parental status remains valid despite the couple’s separation and divorce.

The brief, filed on May 24, 2024, by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), along with other organizations including the ACLU and Family Equality, argues that an intent-based parentage doctrine is essential for reflecting contemporary family formation and ensuring the stability and protection of children born through assisted reproduction.

“There is no question that Nicole Junior is a parent to her child,” said Polly Crozier, Director of Family Advocacy at GLAD. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court should affirm the Superior Court’s ruling to ensure security and clarity for everyone in the family. Having a secure legal parent-child relationship is critical to a child’s well-being.”

Shannon Minter, NCLR’s Legal Director, emphasized the broader implications of the case, stating, “This case presents a critical opportunity for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to clarify that children born through assisted reproduction deserve the same security and stability as other children.” The advocacy groups argue that Pennsylvania law should reflect modern family structures and protect all children’s rights, especially those in LGBTQ families.