“I guess I’m still in disbelief,” says Kris Williams in response to a district judge in Oklahoma’s decision on Monday to grant the man who provided the sperm with parental rights over a young boy instead of Williams. Rebekah Wilson and Williams were married in June 2019 while Wilson was six months pregnant with her son, according to KFOR. According to BuzzFeed News, Wilson and Williams discovered Harlan Vaughn on a paternity website about nine months earlier.
Williams was not mentioned in the sperm donor agreement Wilson signed with Vaughn, and according to KFOR, “at-home, non-medically assisted inseminations” led to a pregnancy that December. The boy’s birth certificate from August 2019 named Williams and Wilson as both the mother and father.
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However, the marriage disintegrated about two years later. Wilson moved in with Vaughn in November 2021 after accusing Williams of domestic violence and harassment. Vaughn made a paternity claim two months after that.
Judge Lynne McGuire stated in her decision that Williams could not prove a “mother-child relationship” under current Oklahoma law without an adoption or having given birth to the child. According to BuzzFeed, regardless of their sexual orientation, “married couples who have children in wedlock are legally believed to be the parents.” McGuire, however, noted that Oklahoma’s 2014 Parentage Act came before the 2015 legalization of same-sex unions.
In order to establish parental rights under Oklahoma law, Williams “said she knew that she needed to adopt the young child,” according to McGuire. “Williams decided against adoption. Williams stated in court that she didn’t think it was acceptable that she would need to ask the court for permission to establish the minor child’s parental rights. The truth is that Williams has a legal remedy provided by the law. She consciously decided against going after it.
Williams’ attorney claims that “there is not case law precedent for these facts” in an appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Wilson and Vaughn have a second child together, and Williams hasn’t seen the boy since November 2021, according to NBC News.