A lower court had already ruled that Patricia Jones would provide a better home than Ellen Boring, who bore the kids. The affirmation included:
We believe that the record supports a finding by clear and convincing evidence that the bests interests of the children are served by granting primary physical custody to Jones, for a number of reasons discussed in the trial court's opinion...The women had been together for 14 years, raised the children together, and when they separated in 2001, shared custody. Boring subsequently lost custody when she did not follow visitation rules, tried to alienate the twins from Jones, changed their names, and tried to move the kids out of state. She contended that she deserved sole custody because she was the biological mother. She also argued that she could not lose custody of the twins unless Jones could meet the much higher standard of proving her an unfit parent.
This type of drama plays out in many states. It is unsettled law, but the best interest of the children seems to hold sway increasingly. This has happened in cases of adoption, step-parents and foster caregivers. This seems a logical extension.