Religious Right legal groups seem to have developed quite a little niche for themselves in representing former lesbians who decide that their former partners ought to have no access to the children they had raised together.
The Liberty Counsel has been involved in at least three such cases in recent months and now it looks like the Alliance Defense Fund is getting into the act as well:
A Utah court has ruled that a 2-year-old child’s right to his mother outweighs the demands of a woman unrelated to the boy who sought parental rights. ADF-allied attorney Frank D. Mylar represented the boy and his mother, a woman who ended her relationship with the other woman and is now married.
“The fundamental rights of parents to raise children the way they see fit should not be threatened by the wishes and desires of a legal stranger,” said Mylar. “The court correctly ruled that this little boy’s right to his mother under state law is of far greater value than the wishes of someone who has no legal relationship to the child.”
The Salt Lake Tribune provides the necessary details on this case:
Gena Edvalson tried for years to be a mom. So when her partner of six years, Jana Dickson, became pregnant through artificial insemination and gave birth to a boy in March 2006, nothing brought her “instantly more joy.”
And nothing brought Edvalson more pain than a recent court ruling depriving her of a chance to even visit the child.
After all, she had eyed every ultrasound. She had read Little Quack to “the little guy” when he was inside Dickson’s womb. She had clicked on a flashlight throughout his first night home from the hospital to check on the sleeping babe.
Both Salt Lake City women, were “mama” and — with the help of lactation medication for Edvalson — both breast-fed the newborn.
But the two split up when the boy was 17 months old and last week, after a yearlong legal fight, Edvalson was cut off from any contact with the 3-year-old she loves as a son. A 3rd District judge, citing a 2008 Utah law, upheld Dickson’s “fundamental” right, as the biological parent, to refuse visitation.
There is no next step in getting to see her boy again, Edvalson said. “The next step is [Dickson] doing the right thing. I have no legal recourse.”
What is remarkable about this particular case is that Dickson doesn’t appear to have become a born-again Christian, as has been central to most of the other cases we have read about, though her ADF attorney insists that she has. For her part, Dickson claims she is a “stronger believer than ever” in the right of lesbians to marry and adopt and the dispute appears to have stemmed mainly from hostility between the two women due to the break-up, at least judging by the press coverage.
Regardless, it is safe to assume that there is absolutely no way that ADF would have gotten involved in a similar visitation dispute between a former straight couple, and since the organization seemingly had no reason step in to this case on religious grounds, it seems that, in essence, ADF got involved simply to further its own anti-gay agenda.
I know I shouldn’t be shocked buy this sort of thing – especially since ADF was recently involved in the (unsuccessful) effort to get a foster child removed from her lesbian parents in West Virginia – but I still find the Religions Right’s willingness to destroy family relationships in the name of “protecting family values” utterly repulsive.