News In Brief: Quick Vermont/Virgina Update

This is just a quick follow-up on a case I commented on some time ago.     The easiest way to get up to speed on the facts is to follow that link there and read the earlier posting.   This is one of those regrettable cases where a lesbian (here an apparently former lesbian) turns on her former partner/coparent and denies her status as a parent.

There is one thing that is clearly wrong with that earlier post of mine, in retrospect.  Notice that then I said the opinion marked “the end” of the saga.  Wrong-o.  Here’s today’s news story.

Truly this is both a never-ending and a heart-wrenching story.  The case began in 2004.  It seems clear now that, like it or not, this child does have two mothers.   It seems even the Virginia mother must agree on that point now.  The law is quite clear.  So years have passed,  during which time the child does not get to see one of her mothers.

There are two, perhaps three, interlocking problems that come together here.   First, the appalling anger/bitterness/whatever it is that can lead a parent (yes, I’ll give the Virginia woman credit for being a parent) to so disregard the reality of the life she constructed for her daughter and to inflict such harm.   It’s funny–a great deal of our family law is premised on the notion that parents know what is best for their children.  And yet in so many instances parents elevate some point of ideology or personal pride or whatever above the interests of their children.  It does make you wonder.

Second, we live in a country composed of separate sovereign states and commonwealths.    Thus, Vermont issues a ruling but Virgina has to decide what to do with this ruling.  Vermont cannot enforce its order in Virgina on its own.

And third, the anti-lesbian/gay parenting movement.   A case like this, which would ordinarily be difficult/painful and so on, becomes a cause.   A conservative Christian law firm is willing to take up the cause (again, no matter what the price to the individual child involved) for the greater advancement of its interests.

However ideological the Virgina courts, they may also care about the smooth functioning of law.  One can hope so anyway.   It’s really time for the parties to accept the decision and get on with it.

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