A lesbian couple in McKinney, Texas, has been together for approximately three years. A county judge is now threatening one of them with the loss of custody of her children unless her lover moves out. Under current Texas family law, same sex couples are not allowed to marry. The judge is enforcing a “morality” clause that was placed in the mother’s divorce decree from her former husband.
It essentially says she cannot cohabitate with anyone unless they are married. If her partner were male, they could avoid any problems by simply getting married. However, since they are of the same gender, and therefore, cannot be married under Texas law, the ultimatum they are being given by the court is that the mother will lose custody of her children unless they break up.
The mother contends the children are doing well and are well adjusted. She also states their father and ex-husband is not often involved in the children’s lives. The judge, is clearly opposed to same sex relationships and made a statement that he did not like the “lifestyle” the couple was pursuing.
The couple indicated that the case came before the judge as a result of the activities of a private investigator hired by the ex-husband. The ex-husband was accused of a third-degree stalking offense with regard to their household two years ago. He subsequently agreed to plead guilty to a reduced misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass.
The couple is currently exploring various avenues of appeal or other ways to avoid the effect of the ruling. In many instances, courts have extended more legal rights to same-sex couples, and there is a possibility the judge’s order might be challenged as violating the couple’s equal protection rights.
If you feel your rights have been violated because of your sexual orientation, contact an attorney to discuss your options.
Source: dallasvoice.com, “Judge says lesbian mom’s partner must go” Anna Waiuugh, May. 17, 2013