Do Married Lesbian Parents Still Need to Adopt? YES!!!

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Minnesota LGBTQ Attorney Explains Why Gay Marriage Law Did NOT Fix the Need For Non-Biological Parent to Adopt Children

Your wife is pregnant with your first child via artificial insemination. Since you’re married that makes you the legal parent of the newborn child, right? Think again. That is only true if you are legally a “husband.” If you are also female, you need a step-parent adoption.

The Minnesota Legislature passed the law allowing lesbians to legally marry in 2013.  Married lesbian clients began asking whether the nonbiological parent needed to seek an adoption. After all, they explain, both women are on the baby’s birth certificate. Unfortunately, the law does not confer any legal rights on someone just because she is listed on a child’s birth certificate.

This may seem like an oversight on the Legislature’s part when they drafted the marriage law. But, it is not.

The only thing the new marriage law did was change some of the words. The Legislature amended marriage laws to remove the definition of marriage as “opposite sex.”  It also replaced words like man and woman with “person” and bride and groom with “spouse.”

Lawmakers knew there were other gender-specific references sprinkled throughout Minnesota statutes. But, rather than go through the task of correcting it in all necessary places, they added a general statement that they thought would cover it. It hasn’t.

The main issue stems from Minnesota’s artificial insemination law stating a husband is treated as biological father. That language does NOT cover the situation in which two women are married and one of them gives birth via artificial insemination. The Legislature planned to fix the loophole after the marriage law passed. But, the makeup of the Minnesota Senate changed the following year and they have been unable to correct the issue.

Until this is fixed, it is IMPERATIVE that you adopt that cute new bundle of joy.



Protect your rights as a parent by contacting an experienced attorney now at 612.712.3274.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.