The same-sex partner of an adoptive mother can’t seek child custody but may request visitation, the New Mexico Court of Appeals has ruled in a precedent-setting case.
State laws provide no legal right for a Santa Fe-area woman to bring a lawsuit asking for custody of a child who was adopted by her partner during their 15-year relationship, the court concluded in a 2-1 ruling issued earlier this month.
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the ruling was a “step backward” on child custody because New Mexico previously had been a leader in “protecting children’s relationships with functional parents, with people who are true parents in every sense of the word but don’t have a biological or adoptive relationship with the child.”
The court’s majority said the state’s child custody law applies to biological or adoptive parents. Other people, such as the unmarried partner of an adoptive parent, can’t seek child custody unless the parent is unfit.