The Mississippi Supreme Court on
Wednesday heard arguments in a case involving a woman who is seeking
parental rights to the child her ex-wife gave birth to.
Christina “Chris” Strickland, 44,
told the court that the Supreme Court's 2015 landmark ruling in
Obergefell – which found that gay and lesbian couples have a
constitutional right to marry – ordered equal treatment for married
Strickland and Kimberly Day used an
anonymous sperm donor to conceive their child, Zayden Strickland, now
A judge had ruled that the unknown
sperm donor has parental rights and awarded sole custody to Day, the
child's birth mother, the
Attorney Beth Littrell asked the
state's highest court to reverse the lower court's ruling.
“This child really needs to have a
legal relationship to both people who brought him into the world and
who he knows and understands to be his only parents, not some
anonymous sperm donor,” Littrell told the justices.
Citing Mississippi's law at the time,
the hospital where Zayden was born refused to list Strickland as a
parent on the child's birth certificate.
“That was an unconstitutional law
that prevented that from happening and shouldn't be used to justify
claiming that she's not a parent now,” Littrell argued.
Day's lawyers argued that Strickland
failed to pursue legal options that would have bolstered her parental
rights during divorce proceedings.