Waldlaw Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

When We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

First of all, sorry for the long delay in blogging. Life at The Wald Law Group has been extraordinarily hectic, and I haven't had time for quiet musings. But I read an article today that sent me screaming to my keyboard. The article, posted on gay.com (among other places), is titled "Lesbian's Lawsuit Says Gays Shouldn't Adopt." It tells the story of a lesbian mother in Georgia who had a baby with her partner, consented to her partner's second parent adoption of the child, and now several years later is suing to have the adoption -- and all Georgia gay adoptions -- declared invalid because there is nothing in Georgia law authorizing gay/second-parent adoptions. This is not a new story. We have lived this story in California, in Utah, in Vermont, in Virginia, in so many states around the country. So why did this story send me screaming to my keyboard? Maybe because I spent the entire morning in court fighting for one of my own clients -- a lesbian non-biological mother -- to have more access to her son. Maybe because one of the other lawyers in court this morning (although not on my case) is personally responsible for more than a decade of heartbreak, having single-handedly convinced the California courts to adopt a policy where non-biological lesbian moms were routinely stripped of all parental rights if they broke up with their partners without having completed an adoption. (This policy was finally reversed by the California Supreme Court in August, 2005.) Maybe because we just suffered a heartbreaking loss in Utah last month, and I'm still recovering. Maybe because.... I think the bottom line is that I am truly tired of this fight. I am truly tired of seeing the bodies of children born to happy lesbian couples strewn alongside the road as these couples dissolve and devolve into all-out warfare without fully considering the cost to our community. And, most of all, I am truly tired of arguing that children born into same-sex homes should still get to have two parents, even after those parents break up. This has been the law for children born into different-sex homes since the 1970's -- so why are we still fighting for children born to lesbian and gay parents to get to have two parents, not one?? And why, oh why are we fighting each other on this issue?? I just started litigating these cases myself in the past year, after cheering from the sidelines for a decade. And I now have at least a half dozen lesbian-against-lesbian parentage disputes in my law practice. I fight Liberty Counsel on whether lesbian moms should have legal rights, and I understand why I have to fight that fight. But when it is another lesbian mom I am fighting, well ... that just makes me tired. P.S. For a truly excellent resource on how to handle LGBT custody disputes with integrity, see Protecting Families: Standards for Child Custody in Same-Sex Relationships, published by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.


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