Hawaii to decide first of its kind LGBTQ presumption of parentage case

The Hawaii Supreme Court is listening to arguments in a significant LGBTQ case, involving legal parenthood. The case involves a lesbian couple, where one of the women sought out a sperm donor and became pregnant while the other woman was deployed in the military. Upon returning from deployment, the non-pregnant spouse filed for divorce. The child was born before the divorce was finalized.

As a general family law principle, when a married woman gives birth to a child, the birth mother and spouse are presumed to be the child’s parents. A presumption that can be rebutted. In this case, the spouse argued that there was no way she could have been the child’s biological parent. The family court denied the spouse the right to sever her parental obligations. The spouse is claiming that the standards of presumed parentage do not apply to same-sex couples; however, to adopt such a view would be at odds with the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, which set precedent that states cannot impose different terms and conditions on marriages between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.