Strickland v. Day

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Status: Closed
Supreme Court for the State of Mississippi
Issues: Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections

Lambda Legal and local counsel Dianne Ellis filed an appeal in the Mississippi Supreme Court on behalf of Christina Strickland, a non-biological lesbian mother denied legal parentage to children she and her now ex-wife planned for and raised together.

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“Our sons have two mothers and they deserve the right to a legal relationship with both of their parents,” said Chris Strickland. “These two precious boys are the world to me. I’m going to keep fighting to make good on my promise to love and care for them for the rest of my life.”

The trial court ruled in the final judgment of Chris and her ex-wife's divorce that the anonymous sperm donor’s “rights” as a parent displaced the those of Chris. Finding that Chris was not a parent to either child, the court nonetheless ordered her to pay child support and awarded her visitation finding she was a person acting “in loco parentis.”

Lambda Legal and Dianne Ellis filed an appeal, arguing that the trial court discriminated against a child based on the circumstances of his birth and contrary to his best interests and violated the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution by ignoring the familial relationship between Chris and her sons. By denying Chris’ status as the full legal parent of the child born to a married couple, the Court has marked Chris and her child—and all children born to married parents as a result of assisted reproduction—as inferior and unworthy of the usual parenting protections that come with marriage.