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Cross-country custody battle between 2 Las Vegas moms

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Posted at 11:14 PM, Dec 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-08 03:12:32-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There are new developments in what's become a cross-country custody battle between two Las Vegas mothers.

"Nevada recognized me as the father regardless of gender because I was on the birth certificate," said Mary Rasmussen.

Rasmussen and her partner decided to have a baby. The women got a sperm donor and soon had a beautiful baby girl in 2006. Both women were put on the birth certificate.

The legal mess started six years later when Rasmussen and the child's biological mom broke up. Rasmussen says the biological mom wanted to erase her from the child's life and the child's birth certificate.

Rasmussen also says that's when the sperm donor entered the picture again.

"She brought the third party in six and a half years later," said Rasmussen. "The judges were going to make it to where maybe there were just three parents and nobody was listed as mother or father."

Craig Mueller is the attorney for the biological mom. He says right now two women and one man is on the birth certificate. The Nevada Supreme Court has remanded the case back for a hearing. Mueller says it's the first time this issue has ever gone before a Nevada judge.

"Most solemn duty of a judge is to sit down and consider very carefully a new issue, Is a birth certificate a political manifesto? Or is it a simple statement of scientific fact.?" Mueller said.

Rasmussen says she's concerned about being deleted from the document. In a long custody battle that's extremely contentious, she says the birth certificate has helped her assert her rights in a system that's far from perfect.

"Police and everything are like ... you're not the birth mother, let me see your birth certificate," Rasmussen said. "So, if I don't have that, how am I supposed to prove myself?"

Mueller says this is a cutting-edge case. Whatever happens in the end will impact Nevada families and the rights of same-sex parents.

"It's going to draw a line in the sand," Mueller said.

He also says it is up to the legislature, not the courts, to say that three people or two women can be on a birth certificate.

Right now, the child's biological mom is in custody in Tennessee for violating a judge's order. 13 Action News has reached out to her in the past. She declined an on-camera interview.