Where one woman bears the child, but the other woman is part of a couple, planning for the birth and raising the newborn, the woman who did not give birth is considered one of the child's parents and has rights and support obligations when the couple splits up. It did not matter that the nonbirth parent had not adopted the child.
The NYT provides the predictable "traditional values" quote:
"You've essentially begun to undermine and unravel the family," said Mathew D. Staver of Liberty Counsel, a law firm that submitted briefs arguing against the recognition of two same-sex parents.I'd like to see a quote from a traditionalist who wasn't the lawyer in this case. Do social conservatives really want to privilege the birth mother's relationship but also cut her off from a source of financial support? Lesbians will have babies, whether you like it or not. Why is it worse to preserve that child's relationships and preserve private sources of funds for raising it? Or do we already know social conservatives are total pushovers for slippery slope arguments about the dreaded gay marriage?
"If these cases are any indication," Mr. Staver said, "it makes it look like they're tending toward recognition of gay marriage."
The linked article doesn't talk about how the decision might be used to argue for imposing support obligations on a man who doesn't marry but lives with a woman who is pregnant with someone else's child and who stays with the woman but never adopts the child. That strikes me as a much more likely slope to slip down.
In one of the decisions, the nonbirth mother had donated her egg and signed the sort of form that men sign to cut off their rights when they donate sperm.
Justice Werdegar, dissenting, suggested that treating the donation of sperm differently from the donation of an egg "inappropriately confers rights and imposes disabilities on persons because of their sexual orientation" and so "may well violate equal protection."Unlike the rest of the three cases the state court decided, this ruling presents a federal question and could go to the United States Supreme Court.
UPDATE: I think if there were gay marriage and gay adoption there would be LESS need for decisions like this, which introduce a new set of problems about nonbiological parents asseting rights or finding themselves bound to obligations. The formalities of marriage and adoption create clarity about the relationship between parents and children. If these formalities are available to gay persons, courts will not feel so much of a pull toward solutions like the one the California court devised.