Browse Cases

By Topic

By State

By Outcome

Join Our Mailing List

We will send you updates about the changes GLAD is winning in the law and invitations to upcoming GLAD events.

Sign Me Up


For more information on a case,
contact Carisa Cunningham at 617-426-1350, or contact by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Representing Plaintiff(s) · Victory · Final Disposition on December 31, 2000

Rubano v. DiCenzo

The Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that a lesbian co-parent could bring a claim in Family Court to resolve issues of visitation rights with the child she had raised with her former partner, the biological parent of their son.  This ruling establishes the right of a de facto parent to pursue custody and visitation claims in Rhode Island.  M.R. and her partner C.D. lived together for 8 years and had a son in 1991.  When the couple split up, C.D. limited, and then ended, all visitation between the son and M.R.

In a 3-2 decision, the Court ruled that the Family Courts of Rhode Island have the power to hear claims raised by de facto parents, and to determine the interests of children born to unmarried couples.  GLAD’s amici curiae brief, authored along with Boston attorney David Hobbie, and Providence attorney Donna Nesselbush, was joined by the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Jewish Family Services, Children’s Friend and Service, Rhode Island State Council of Churches, Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, Ocean State Action, Rhode Island Affiliate of the ACLU, Youth Pride, Inc., Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and YWCA of Northern Rhode Island.