201311.07
0

129 So. 3d 320 (Fla. 2013)

In this groundbreaking parental rights case, the Supreme Court of Florida (in a lengthy 4-3 decision) agreed with the Firm that its client, T.M.H., had parental rights to a child she raised with her partner, D.M.T. The same sex couple wanted to have a child, and T.M.H.’s ova was artificially inseminated and implanted in D.M.T., who bore the child. Ultimately the couple separated, and D.M.T. denied T.M.H. any rights as a parent to the child. T.M.H. sued, though the trial court ruled that a Florida statute barred her rights as a parent. The Fifth District Court of Appeal (in a 2-1 decision) disagreed, finding that the statute did not apply to the circumstances of the case, and if it did, it was unconstitutional. See T.M.H. v. D.M.T., 79 So. 3d 787 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011).

The Florida Supreme Court ultimately found that the statute did apply, though it violated the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of both the United States and Florida Constitutions. Attorney Chris Carlyle was gratified by the decision. “The case represents a recognition of the fundamental right a parent has to parent their child, regardless of that parent’s sexual orientation or the manner by which the child is conceived,” he said. “You had a unique situation where there was no intent of our client to donate this biological material and then be out of the picture. They obviously intended to raise the child together.”