Mississippi's Supreme Court ruled last
week that a woman has parental rights to the child her ex-wife gave
birth to when they were married.
Christina “Chris” Strickland and
Kimberly Day used an anonymous sperm donor to conceive their child,
Zayden Strickland, now 6.
A lower court ruled that the unknown
sperm donor has parental rights and awarded sole custody to Day, the
child's birth mother, the
“I'm on cloud nine right now,”
Strickland told the AP. “I knew I was my son's mother from the
start and I would be at the end and this just confirms it with the
Supreme Court backing me 100 percent.”
All nine of the high court's justices
found flaws in the lower court's ruling.
“At bottom, to deny Christina the
relationship she has built with Z.S. would be a miscarriage of
justice,” Associate Justice David Ishee wrote in an opinion joined
by three other judges.
In arguing before the court, Attorney
Beth Littrell said that Zayden “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 argued that her client was
being treated differently because she was a lesbian and 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 same-sex couples.
Day's lawyers argued that Strickland
failed to pursue legal options that would have bolstered her parental
rights during divorce proceedings.