News & Events
Amicus Brief by Justice for Children Project Cited by Washington Supreme Court
Case involved dispute between a biological mother and her same-sex partner over the custody of their 9-year-old daughter
November 23, 2005
On November 3, 2005, the Washington Supreme Court held that a nonbiological mother was a de facto parent and therefore, could seek to establish and assert her parental rights.
That case, In re Parentage of L.B., involved a dispute between a biological mother, Page Britain, and her same-sex partner, Mian Carvin, over the custody of their 9-year-old daughter. Carvin, who had stayed home to raise the child, had been denied custody and visitation. The trial court never heard from the child and refused to appoint an attorney or a guardian ad litem for the child.
The Justice for Children Project at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in a brief it filed with the Court of Appeals, argued that the child has a constitutional right to maintain a parent-like relationship and was denied procedural due process when the trial court denied her an opportunity to be heard.
The Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the child has a constitutional right to maintain a relationship with her parent, citing to amicus briefs filed by the Justice for Children Project and others. The case was appealed to the Washington Supreme Court; the Project filed another brief, explicitly arguing that the child was entitled to counsel.
In rendering its ruling, the Washington Supreme Court, in footnote 29, recorded the following significant observation:
Professor Katherine Hunt Federle, Director of the Justice for Children Project, and Professor Angela M. Lloyd, Assistant Clinical Legal Professor, filed the amicus brief on behalf of the Project. Current and former Moritz law students in the Practicum who worked diligently on the brief included Melissa Callais, Kim Rigby, Lindsey Lathwell, Erin Davies, Dianna Parker, and Rachel Relle.