“Other” Motherhood Begins at Birth in DC

Children born through artificial insemination can now legally have two female parents at birth in Washington, D.C., thanks to a new law.

The new law negates the need for the female partner of the birth mother to go through a complicated adoption process to legally become the child’s “other mother”.

American University law professor Nancy Polikoff, who helped draft the District of Columbia’s Domestic Partnership Judicial Determination Parentage Act of 2009, noted that when a heterosexual married couple uses artificial insemination, the husband does not have to adopt the child.

“He is the child’s legal parent automatically. Now the child of a lesbian couple will have the same economic and emotional security,” Polikoff told The Washington Post. “A mother should not have to adopt her own child.”

The law is the first of its kind in the country. A similar law goes into effect in January 2010 in New Mexico.

By law, Congress is charged with oversight of the laws of the District of Columbia, and many people feel recent decisions are a litmus indicator of Congressional  attitude toward LGBT rights.

Earlier this month, with Congressional approval, the district began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.


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