Lesbian couples challenge ‘natural and ordinary’ bill in court

Just four days after Gov. Bill Haslam signed the “natural and ordinary meaning” bill into law, four lesbian couples – expectant parents of children conceived through artificial insemination – have filed a lawsuit contending the measure is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, naming Haslam, state Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner and the Tennessee Department of Health as defendants.

Further from The Tennessean:

Their case notes that, when a man and woman have a child with donated sperm, the husband is automatically given legal rights to the child. They argue Tennessee’s new law does not guarantee them the same rights.

Lawyer Julia Tate-Keith filed the lawsuit and said after the bill was signed last week the couples were left with no choice but to seek protection from the court.

“Because the legislature has shown that they are not interested in protecting these families and children, these couples have no choice but to ask the courts to protect them,” Tate-Keith said.

The couples’ children are due later this year. They say the new law violates equal rights and due process protections entrenched in the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions.

“The Petitioners seek the same protection under the law that husbands conceiving with donated sperm are afforded by Tennessee statutes,” their filing reads.

The women are asking Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle to issue an order setting precedent that any spouse of a pregnant woman is a legal parent.

“We only want a declaration that the non-biological mothers are parents too,” Tate-Keith said.

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