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Victory for same-sex couples and their children

July 7, 2016: Michael Conover got good news from the Court of Appeals of Maryland on July 7. The Court held that parents in same-sex relationships who do not have a biological or adoptive relationship with their children can still be considered their parents under the law. Mr. Conover had been denied visitation because the courts did not recognize that he was his son’s parent, despite having raised the child with his former same-sex partner since birth. The Court’s ruling not only gives Mr. Conover the opportunity to apply for visitation, but also benefits thousands of same-sex couples and their children. FreeState Justice represented Mr. Conover in the case, with the support of numerous amicus briefs filed by the Public Justice Center and many other organizations.
Conover v. Conover continues the Public Justice Center’s appellate advocacy on behalf of same-sex couples and their families. The PJC and allies have written or joined amicus briefs in a string of cases, including Deane v. Conaway, Janice M. v. Margaret K., and Koshko v. Haining, all of which the Court referenced and analyzed in Conover. The Court now repudiates its unfortunate decision in Deane (which denied constitutional protection to same-sex marriage, later adopted by legislation and approved by referendum) and outright overrules Janice M., which had deprived parents in same-sex relationships of their parental rights. In doing so, the Court now adopts the position we had urged in Janice M. The victory in Conover is a reminder that sometimes we must stick with an issue for a number of years and in a number of cases to help move courts in the right direction.

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