TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A state appeals court has rejected a woman’s attempt to gain visitation rights with two children she helped raise while in a same-sex relationship that ultimately ended.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal overturned a Manatee County circuit judge’s ruling that Elizabeth Pasik could legally pursue time-sharing with the children.

Pasik and Susan Russell began a relationship in 1998 and both later used artificial insemination to become pregnant and have children. Russell gave birth to two children, who were raised by both women until the relationship ended in 2011.

Pasik continued to play an active parenting role until 2013, when Russell refused to allow visitation with the children. Pasik went to court, arguing she was their “de facto or psychological parent,” the ruling said.

A circuit judge denied Russell’s attempt to dismiss the case. But the appeals court found in Russell’s favor.

“We are not unsympathetic to Pasik’s cause or her desire to visit with the children that she helped raise over the course of several years,” said wrote Chief Judge Craig Villanti in a 10-page ruling “Likewise, we understand the importance of the children being able to visit with someone who, for all intents and purposes, they have considered to be a parent from the time they were born. However, if the definition of a parent is to be expanded to fit facts such as those in this appeal, when a constitutional infirmity is not claimed or involved, then a policy change of this magnitude must be instituted by the Legislature, not the courts.”


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