Hawaii Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument Regarding the Parental Rights and Responsibilities of Married Same-Sex Couples

On December 14, 2017, the State of Hawaii presented oral argument to the Hawaii Supreme Court in the case of C.C. v. D.D., arguing that same-sex spouses must be treated as the presumed parents of children born during their marriage, just as opposite-sex spouses are.

The case involves a dispute between a former married same-sex couple regarding whether C.C. is a legal parent of a child conceived using anonymous donor sperm and born to D.D. during the marriage. C.C. is asking the Hawaii Supreme Court to rule that she is not a legal parent and has no obligation to pay child support because she is not biologically related to the child. The State of Hawaii submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of D.D., urging the Court to read Hawaii parentage law in a gender-neutral manner, as required by the Marriage Equality Act, and to apply the marital presumption of parentage equally to both same-sex and opposite-sex married couples.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “The State has a strong interest in ensuring that the Marriage Equality Act is properly enforced and that both same-sex and opposite-sex married couples are treated equally, so their children have the same opportunity to receive child support.”

At oral argument, Solicitor General Clyde Wadsworth said to the Court, “All means all. The Marriage Equality Act mandates that ‘all gender-specific terminology’ in ‘all sources of law’ regarding the rights and responsibilities of spouses must be construed in a gender-neutral manner. . . . So the presumption of parentage must be construed in a gender-neutral manner and applied equally to same-sex and opposite-sex couples.”

The Court took the matter under advisement and will later issue a written opinion.

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