A Colorado-based lesbian mom is breaking new ground by becoming the first woman allowed to file a paternity suit in her state.
As ABC is reporting, Wendy Alfredsen and her ex-partner, Lena Alfredsen, adopted two biological sisters, whom they had been foster parenting for two years, in 2006. As Colorado law allowed only one gay parent to sign adoption papers for a child, each woman was the parent of just one of the girls.
When the couple parted ways in 2009, Lena took her legal daughter and went to Norway to live -- an experience Wendy describes as "very traumatic" for her and her other daughter. "She didn’t get to say goodbye to her parent or sister,” Wendy told The Denver Channel. She decided to go to court shortly thereafter. “I think any parent would fight tooth and nail for their kids. I didn’t know what contact I would have, what role I would play, especially not legally being her parent."
Wendy's attorney, Ann Gushurst, told ABC she decided to fight for custody of the girl by taking advantage of a recent decision in Colorado that allowed non-biological parents to file paternity suits. "That case [of a non-biological father seeking custody] came out and I learned about it, and two weeks later I amended [our filing]," Gushurst is quoted as saying. "If this guy can do it, I thought, why can't a lesbian mother do it?"
A hearing will be held by a Colorado judge in June to determine parenting time, the Associated Press notes.
Though LGBT rights advocates will likely hail the legal decision to allow a lesbian mother to file a paternity suit, Wendy insists she doesn't consider herself a trailblazer. “I just did what any parent would do for their child,” she is quoted as saying. “But it does feel good to know that we’re making a change.”
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