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Adoption of Tammy

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
619 N.E.2d 315 (1993)


Facts

Susan and Helen (plaintiffs), both physicians, were in a long-term committed relationship of more than 10 years. The state of Massachusetts did not permit same-sex marriage. Desiring to raise a child that would be biologically related to both women, Susan became pregnant through artificial insemination with sperm donated by Helen’s cousin, Francis. A daughter, Tammy, was born in 1988. Susan and Helen jointly petitioned to adopt Tammy. Francis consented to the adoption and had no intention of participating in Tammy’s life except as an extended family member. Susan and Helen equally participated in and contributed to raising Tammy, who related to both women as her parents. Tammy’s adoption by Helen would give her a number of financial benefits in addition to providing legal recognition of the women’s family unit. Numerous people, including family members of Susan and Helen, Tammy’s guardian ad litem, and an attorney appointed to represent Tammy’s interests, all testified in favor of the adoption. The Probate and Family Court granted the petition and reported both the evidence and questions of law to the Appeals Court as a precaution against future attack. The Supreme Judicial Court opted to review the case on its own motion.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Greaney, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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