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Hawai‘i Supreme Court Scrutinizes Parental Responsibilities

December 19, 2017, 8:19 AM HST
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The State of Hawai‘i presented oral argument to the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in the case of C.C. v. D.D. on Dec. 14, 2017, 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 Hawai‘i 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 Hawai‘i submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of D.D., urging the court to read Hawai‘i 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.

“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,” Attorney General Doug Chin said.

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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.”

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

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