Montana Upholds Same-Sex Partner's Parental Rights

Filed under: Adoption, Gay Parenting, In The News

Same-sex couples in Montana now have the same rights as married couples to pursue child custody in court.

The Montana Supreme Court, in a 6-1 ruling, upheld that right Tuesday. Justices decided a woman who shared responsibility for two adopted children with her former partner was entitled to parental rights.

Montana law does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children, so only one partner can legally be regarded as the adoptive parent. According to court documents, Barbara Maniaci and Michelle Kulstad agreed that Maniaci would be the adoptive parent on all the legal paperwork, but the two of them would raise the children together. As a result, Kulstad was not listed as the legal parent.

Some people hailed Tuesday's ruling as a victory for people -- gay and straight -- who care for children outside the bounds of traditional marriage. Others said it opens the doors to outside parties who want to lay claim to children.

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