Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ohio Court Upholds Parental Rights Over Lesbian's

Only one justice of the Ohio Supreme Court sided with the lesbian suing for custody rights of her ex-lover's child -- majority opinion ruled that non-legal emotional bonds do not trump parental rights.

-- From "'Co-parents' need formal agreement, justices rule" by David Eggert, The Columbus Dispatch 7/13/11

In a 4-3 decision yesterday, the justices upheld lower-court rulings that a Cincinnati woman did not agree to shared legal custody of her daughter, now 5, despite planning the in-vitro pregnancy with her partner and naming her a "co-parent" in power-of-attorney documents.

Biological mom Kelly Mullen voided those documents after she and Lucy, then 2, moved out of the house they shared with Michele Hobbs in 2007. Hobbs' name appears on the ceremonial birth certificate, and she helped raise and financially support Lucy.

In his majority opinion, Justice Robert R. Cupp pointed to evidence that Mullen intended to share custody and evidence that she did not. Using "co-parenting" terminology in legal documents is not the same as agreeing to permanently relinquish sole custody for shared parenting, he said.

Though the high court stopped short of requiring couples to sign a written contract changing custodial rights, it said that is the best way to protect their rights.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court rules against lesbian 'co-parent' in custody fight" by Kimball Perry, 7/13/11

“Hobbs was a nonparent under Ohio law despite her active role in raising and caring for the child,” Justice Robert Cupp wrote in the majority opinion of the case that split 4-3 on the decision.

Giving Hobbs’ parental rights would open a floodgate of similar cases that would weaken parenting laws, noted Mathew Staver, dean of the Liberty University School of Law and founder and chairman of the Virginia-based Liberty Counsel.

While this specific case involved lesbians and was closely watched by gay rights advocates, it also was closely monitored by others who saw it potential impact on parent rights – or the lack of parental rights – of grandparents, step-parents or others raising a child who biologically isn’t theirs.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Ohio Lesbian Loses Bid For Shared Custody" by The Associated Press 7/12/11

Justices Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Terrence O'Donnell and Judith Ann Lanzinger joined the majority. Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, Yvette McGee Brown and Paul Pfeifer dissented.

O'Connor's opinion, joined by McGee Brown, said the court was wrong to accept the case in the first place because it established no new governing principle. One thing it did show, she said: Couples would be prudent to get custody arrangements in writing.

In his dissent, Pfeifer said Hobbs presented more than enough evidence to back up her claim.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court says lesbian 'partner' lacks rights to child" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 7/12/11

However, as an indication of how far the concept has advanced that two men or two women should be called "married," a dissent by Justice Maureen O'Connor said, "The American family takes many forms, including those in which children are raised lovingly in homes headed by two fathers or two mothers …. Our evolving social and cultural notions of family and parenthood coincide with the advancement of reproductive science, medicine, and technology that now permit people to create families in ways quite different from the traditional paradigm in which children are born of one woman impregnated directly by one man."

She wrote, "As our understandings of the family evolve, so do our understandings of parenthood."

Justice Paul Pfeifer wrote a separate dissent, blasting his fellow justices and lamenting, "The law has not caught up to our culture, and this court has failed to craft a rule that addresses reality. Mullen and Hobbs employed a well-versed lawyer who represents people in their situation, and with his advice did all they could do to protect Hobbs. A maternal relationship existed between Hobbs and Lucy. Mullen taught her daughter to call another woman 'Momma' and to love her as a mother. She now wishes she hadn't, and for the majority, that's enough. It shouldn't be."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.