In what is believed to be the state's first such ruling for a same-sex couple, a New York judge has awarded full custody of a child to her adopted mother rather that her biological parent.
The New York Post reports that Manhattan real estate attorney Allison Scollar defeated television producer Brook Altman for custody and decision-making authority of a six-year-old girl after a brutal court battle.
Manhattan Judge Gloria Sosa-Lintner praised Scollar, 50, as "the more responsible parent looking out for the childâs best interests, not her own interestsâ while describing Altman, 47, as having behaved "more as a friend or older sister than a responsible parent."
Acknowledging Altman as the girl's biological parent, Sosa-Lintner nonetheless added, "This does not give her an automatic priority over the adoptive parent. This is analogous to a father getting custody of his own child, where only the best interests of the child are paramount."
Though Altman (who credits reportedly include Martha Stewart's TV show) plans to appeal the decision, Scollar said she was relieved. "Love doesnât just come from biology...Itâs a step closer to the gay community being acknowledged as parents," she said. "The law needs to catch up to diverse families â and it has."
The move comes at a time when same-sex parenting continues to be a divisive issue, both culturally and politically. In June, sociologist Mark Regnerus published a study which claimed to find disadvantages for children raised by same-sex parents, though the results have since been deemed "flawed" by a number of high profile social scientists.
In August, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer sparked the ire of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community after he called for an "Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households," and has previously cited the Penn State child abuse scandal as evidence why LGBT parents shouldn't be allowed to adopt children. Meanwhile, openly gay "My Best Friend's Wedding" star Rupert Everett has reportedly been on the receiving end of hate mail and death threats after he, too, criticized same-sex parenting.