Lesbian Couple Still Fighting For Parenting Rights
By Katie Wiedmann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Some same sex couples in Iowa are celebrating a victory in Iowa after a court ruling on Wednesday.
In 2009, Heather and Melissa Gartner, of Des Moines, sued the health department for only listing Heather as a parent.
On Wednesday, a Polk County judge ordered the state health department to include both mother’s names on their daughter’s birth certificate.
The child was conceived using an anonymous sperm donor.
Now a lesbian couple from Dubuque says this recent victory is a step in the right direction for same sex parents.
But they say there are other laws need to change that stand in the way of every day life.
Angela and Carolyn Linton-Canfield own a catering business called “Life’s a Feast.”
The recently married couple has been together for 14 years.
They’re also raising Angela’s teenage daughters from a previous marriage.
Angela said, ” They used to call her just Carolyn and over time they started calling her Mom Carolyn. Then we became “the moms”. ”
But Carolyn has no legal rights when it comes to the teens, making parenting an even bigger challenge.
Angela said, “If I couldn’t take her to a doctor’s appointment, Carolyn couldn’t sign for care unless I gave her a letter. ”
Carolyn said, “The letter had to be carried all the time because otherwise I would not be able to make decisions for our children and I had to call Angela. ”
Those frustrations continue still today.
Carolyn said, “dealing with college now: even though we live in Iowa and we are a legally married couple, everything for financial aid is Angela’s financial records and I don’t think that’s fair. ”
What they want people to understand is simple.
Angela said, “we’re not trying to do anything weird or strange or odd. We’re just trying to raise our children and raise them to be loving considerate human beings.”
As partners in work and life they finish each others sentences, and often evoke uncontrollable laughter.
For the couple, life really is a feast of love and happiness.
Angela and Carolyn’s daughters are now both 18 so they have their own legal health care rights.
But the couple would like to see those changes to help benefit other same sex couples raising little ones.
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