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Real Answers™
dt27
Copyright: ©2008 Debbie Thurman
750 words

EVOLVING FAMILY LAW:  DENYING CHILDREN'S BEST INTERESTS AND GODLY WISDOM

By: Debbie Thurman

Family courts increasingly are asked to rule in child custody cases resulting from homosexual unions gone sour. These cases frequently pit the courts of two different states against each other as only six states currently allow either gay marriage or civil unions.

Since the vast majority of couples joined in such unions are from states other than the one they are “married” in, the dissolution of those unions make for sticky situations when it comes to deciding what will become of the children involved.

It is increasingly common for lesbian couples, in particular, to have one partner artificially inseminated to bear one or more children. Sperm-bank kids, they are called. Occasionally, children from a previous heterosexual marriage enter the picture, as well as adopted children in states that allow gay adoption.

Courts must rule, when these dissolving families appear before them, based on case law that was written for heterosexual marriage. Judges believe they have little choice but to grant the same parental rights to a gay ex-partner as they would an estranged father or mother, even when no biological connection exists with a child.

Florida-based Liberty Counsel currently is representing former lesbians in at least three cases involving three states — Virginia, Florida and Alabama — who have left their partners, renounced homosexuality altogether and desire to raise their children apart from the influences of the “lesbigay” environment their estranged partners still live in. These cases are but the tip of the iceberg nationwide.

In perhaps the most prominent and prolonged case to date, Lisa Miller is still battling her former civil union partner, Janet Jenkins, over custody and visitation rights of Miller’s biological (sperm-bank) daughter, 6-year-old Isabella. The two women were Virginia residents, joined in a brief civil union in Vermont in 2000. The relationship ended in 2003 when Miller relocated back to Virginia (a state with strong, traditional marriage laws) with the child, also returning to her Christian roots.

Not only does Miller’s Christian “ex-gay” status rankle pro-gay advocates, but her choice to cut off her former partner from visitations she views as harmful goes against the prevailing sentiment expressed by psychosocial researchers. This limited body of “research” is highly controversial, hotly disputed by advocates on both sides of the issues.

There has been insufficient time to study the effects of gay parenting on children like Isabella, says one side. The other side maintains these children are not emotionally harmed and function as well as those raised in homes with a mother and father. The research begs the question: who models the opposite-sex behavior for such children?

Meanwhile, the children caught in the middle of the “mommy wars” are fearful every day of their young lives of the ping-pong effect of a dual-state, court-ordered existence. If families are designed to foster the best interests of children — and for millennia, they have been — then how can judges rule in ways that will protect children rather than appearing to serve the interests of selfish adults? Are their hands truly tied by the law, or are they compelled to weigh all the evidence?

University of Southern California sociologist Judith Stacey argues that “heterosexism has hampered intellectual progress” in the research of same-sex parenting. The implication is that heterosexism is a bad, prejudicial thing — that it is a euphemism for homophobia. Couldn’t one say the same thing about homosexism, however? Who is to say which is the most harmful form of “intolerance”?

When we discount the truth of God’s Word and its power to direct our lives to the best, healthiest outcomes, we set up a world that is essentially valueless. Such a worldview says there is no best way to live, and that children are at the mercy of political or sociological correctness.

Despite testimony from her court-appointed attorney confirming the harm in forcing her to spend time with an avowed lesbian whom she barely knows and whose beliefs are in direct conflict with hers and her mother’s, Isabella Miller’s best interests are ignored.

Isabella reportedly wondered out loud recently why the woman who insisted she is her other mother didn’t just go and get her own daughter the same way she had come into the world. She knows she doesn’t need two mommies, but she wonders why the other woman needs her. Fair question.

This 6-year-old has more wisdom than many adults. “A little child shall lead them,” says Isaiah 11:6. Perhaps God has much to say to us through our children’s voices.

 

Debbie Thurman is an award-winning commentator and author who writes from Monroe, Va. Her e-mail address is debbie@debbiethurman.com.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091; amyfoundtn@aol.com

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