Marilyn Johnson (defendant) and Nancy SooHoo (plaintiff) were in a same-sex relationship for 22 years. During that time, Marilyn adopted two children from China. Nancy was supportive of Marilyn's decision to become a mother, and Nancy and Marilyn held themselves out to the public as a family unit. Marilyn and Nancy co-parented the two children. Although Nancy never adopted the children, she acted in loco parentis, or like a parent, to them. Marilyn and Nancy ended their relationship, and because Nancy had no legal right to custody or visitation, Nancy went nearly six months without seeing the children. Nancy filed a petition seeking visitation with the children pursuant to a Minnesota statute that allows for third-party visitation under certain circumstances. Under the statute, a third party may seek reasonable visitation if they have resided in the household with a child for two or more years, but no longer reside in the home. The trial court found that it was in the children's best interest to have scheduled visitation with Nancy due to their strong emotional ties to her. Marilyn appealed the judgment of visitation to the court of appeals, and the judgment was affirmed. Marilyn filed a subsequent appeal, alleging that the statute was unconstitutional.