A lesbian couple in a long-term relationship decided to adopt and raise a child. They planned and carried out the adoption together, although under Colorado law only one of the two could be listed as the "legal" parent. After several years raising the child together, the couple broke up. The district court determined that joint parenting responsibilities and equal parenting time would serve the best interests of the child. The legal parent appealed, arguing that as the legal parent, she has the right to exclude her estranged partner from their child's life. The ACLU filed an amicus brief in support of the estranged partner, arguing that the best interest of the child and the "psychological parent" doctrine support the district court's decision. The Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU's position.

ACLU case number



Heather R. Hannaman

Case number

03CA1121, Colorado Court of Appeals