Judge reverses ruling erasing lesbian mum from son’s birth certificate amid bitter divorce row

Oklahoma lesbian woman Kris Williams is seen talking to the news while wearing a grey shirt after she was removed from her son's birth certificate

An Oklahoma judge has voided a previous ruling erasing a lesbian mum’s name off her son’s birth certificate amid contentious divorce proceedings.

Kris Williams and Rebekah Wilson were married in the summer of 2019, and the couple had a son via artificial insemination shortly thereafter. While Wilson carried the child, Williams was there for the birth and was listed on the birth certificate.

The lesbian couple filed for divorce, and Wilson petitioned the court to remove Williams’ name from the child’s birth certificate. The court subsequently ruled in January that Williams “failed to pursue a legal remedy to establish parental rights” and should have adopted her child. 

But on 1 June, county district judge Lynne McGuire backtracked on the original ruling and declared that Williams would remain on her son’s birth certificate, her lawyer confirmed to the 19th

The recent ruling doesn’t guarantee Williams parental rights over her son, but that issue will be decided at a later court date in August. 

Wilson accused Williams of verbally abusing her and claimed efforts to block Williams from seeing their son are for his safety, the 19th reported. Williams has denied both allegations. 

Wilson and the couple’s sperm donor have petitioned for custody of the child. McGuire has granted Wilson and the child a victim protection order which bans Williams from seeing either for five years. 

According to the 19th, the order originated from undisclosed abuse allegations which have not been publicly disclosed. 

So it could be a while before Williams can see her young son, and she said her other son – who is 15-years-old – misses his little brother.  

“I am tired of watching my teenager watch me suffer,” Williams said.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that non-biological parents in same-sex relationships can have custody and visitation rights on equal terms with the child’s biological parent. The state’s top court said the decision was “consistent with the best interests” of kids in “similar scenarios”. 

But the court established in a different case that the 2019 ruling doesn’t apply to legally married couples, LGBTQ Nation reported. 

The ACLU has promised to step in for Williams should the lesbian mum’s appeals not be successful. Hannah Roberts, an attorney with the ACLU, said the case represents a legal grey area that many LGBTQ+ parents in the US face.

“The concern is if Kris loses, that’s going to set some pretty bad precedent in the state of Oklahoma, and possibly beyond,” Roberts said. “I think that this is just the first time that there has been such an adverse ruling that is so contrary to equal protection.”

Roberts added: “It’s gotten the attention because same-sex couples get divorced all the time.”