Opinion:Guzman v. Guzman, 2021 OK 26
Subject matter:Parental rights of same-sex parents and/or stepparents. 
Date Decided:May 25, 2021
Trial Court:District Court of Canadian County (J. Hatfield)
Route to this Court:On certiorari from a decision of the Court of Civil Appeals (Division II) reversing the trial court.
Facts:The parties began a relationship  in 2012. In 2015, one of Adrieanna’s family members asked her to be a foster parent to a child who would be placed in DHS custody upon birth. She agreed, and Adrieanna and Carmen brought the child home from the hospital upon its birth in April 2015. Adrieanna, but not Carmen, officially adopted the child in December of 2015. The parties married in 2017, but separated in September of 2018. In January of 2019, Carmen filed a petition for paternity seeking to establish her parental status and for a determination on custody and support. Adrieanna sought to dismiss the petition for Carmen’s lack of standing because she had never formally adopted the child. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed, citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Schnedler v. Lee, 2019 OK 52, and concluding that if the facts alleged in the Petition were taken as true, Carmen appeared to satisfy the test set forth in Schnedler to have in loco parentis status over the child. Supreme Court granted certiorari review.  
Standard of Review:Dismissal of a Petition, including one for child custody and support, by the trial court is reviewed de novo
Analysis:The Court found that Carmen was a stepparent, and as such, had no standing to seek custody or visitation after the parties divorced. The Court found that “[t]he Court of Civil Appeals appears to have applied Schnedler to the facts of this case solely because the parties were in a same-sex relationship. This was error.” 
Outcome:Court of Civil Appeals decision vacated; Trial court’s dismissal of the petition affirmed.  
Vote:7-1. Opinion by V.CJ. Kane; separate concurring opinion from J. Winchester; written dissent from J. Gurich.  
Other: J. Winchester, joined by C.J Darby, and JJ. Kauger and Combs, concurred specially to say that parental rights, including same-sex parental rights, are established two ways in Oklahoma:  biologically or through adoption. J. Winchester says in footnote 1 that Schnedler created an equitable remedy for same-sex parental rights but that in this case no equitable remedy was needed because Carmen could have adopted the child. J. Gurich filed a written dissent:  “I will not join the majority, which makes Carmen Guzman into a stepparent and thereby denies her the chance to seek custody of the child–now six years old–who came into her shared home two days after he was born. Even if Carmen were a stepparent, the best interests of the child whom she has cared for and supported for years should be considered.” J. Gurich pointed out in her dissent that the record indicated that Carmen alleged that DHS “actively discouraged an effort by her to adopt N.R. in late 2015.” J. Gurich concludes by stating:  “For over six years, since the decisions in Bishop and Obergefell, Oklahoma’s statutory schemes for adoption and parentage have not been updated. The specially concurring opinion discusses how Carmen could have adopted the child as Adrieanna’s spouse under 10 O.S. 2011 § 7503-1.1. That statute, which has not been updated since 1998, still refers only to husband and wife. Likewise, the provision relating to establishment of the parent–child relationship, 10 O.S. 2011 § 7700-201, defines parentage solely in terms of mother and father, and has gone unchanged since 2006. Nothing about any of these statutes is gender-neutral and likely the reason DHS discouraged Carmen from adopting N.R.”