The Latest: Court weighs parent rights in same-sex divorce

November 29, 2017

Chris Strickland recalls the painful months without contact to her now six-year-old son, after she and her wife divorced, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Pearl, Miss. Strickland, whose wife had a son through in-vitro fertilization and later divorced, is arguing before the Mississippi Supreme Court, that a lower court should be overruled and she should have legal status as a legal parent. The court will hear the case Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a Mississippi court case where a woman is seeking parental rights along with her ex-wife (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

A lawyer for a woman seeking parental rights to a 6-year-old boy told the Mississippi’s Supreme Court that it must rule in her favor after the U.S. Supreme Court authorized same-sex marriage nationwide.

But a lawyer for her ex-wife, who bore the child while the two were married, says a court needs to first terminate the parental rights of the anonymous sperm donor.

A lower court judge ruled along those lines during the divorce of Chris Strickland and Kimberly Day, awarding custody to Day and prompting Strickland to appeal.

The Mississippi court heard arguments on the case Wednesday and will rule later. The case is being closely watched by both gay-rights activists and groups aiding in vitro fertilization. A ruling in Day’s favor could apply to opposite-sex couples who use someone else’s eggs or sperm, in addition to same-sex couples.


3:15 a.m.

The Mississippi Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday on whether a woman should get parental rights to a 6-year-old boy that her ex-wife birthed when the two were married. A lower court judge ruled during a divorce that 44-year-old Chris Strickland wasn’t a legal parent, instead saying an anonymous sperm donor still had parental rights.

Strickland wants that ruling overturned, saying the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage requires same-sex couples to be treated equally. She wants legal status and ultimately hopes to win 50-50 custody of a boy who bears her last name.

Her ex-wife, though, argues the lower court decided correctly and that a judge must terminate the unknown father’s rights. The case is being closely watched by both gay-rights activists and groups aiding in vitro fertilization.

Update hourly