Under a new ruling by New York’s highest court this week, same-sex parents are guaranteed consideration for custody or visitation in the event of divorce or death.
Previously, the non-biological partner had these rights, but only if that parent legally adopted the shared child.
But the court limited its rulings, and declined to resolve two cases involving lesbian parents and instead sent both back to lower courts, saying that the question of whether nonbiological parents should be given full parental rights was up to the State Legislature.
The rulings reflect the expanding affirmation by the Court of Appeals of rights for gays and lesbians. The court has generally ruled that short of same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian couples can enjoy a broad range of legal protections.
While same-sex marriages are not legal in New York, the state does recognize same-sex unions performed in other states.