Saturday, December 17, 2005

Defacto Parental Decisions Continue Legal Attacks on Mothers

"Friday, November 4, 2005

Court redefines parenthood

By Lornet Turnbull
Seattle Times staff reporter

The Washington Supreme Court established what amounts to a new category of parents -- one that's the legal equivalent of moms and dads -- when it ruled Thursday that a lesbian who was neither the biological nor adoptive parent of a girl she helped raise has co-parenting rights to the child.

The decision, which significantly impacts parenting laws in the state, may also signal the direction the high court will take in deciding a gay-marriage lawsuit pending before it -- a prospect that delights same-sex marriage advocates and horrifies opponents.

In the 7-2 decision hailed by gays as an acknowledgement of the complexity of families, the court recognized what it called a "de-facto or psychological parent" under the state's common law as one who "in all respect functions as the child's actual parent."

The attorney for Page Britain, the child's biological mother, warned that the ruling strips away parental authority, setting the stage for any adult who helps raise a child -- from roommates to live-in lovers -- to make parental claims. He will recommend his client appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

Writing for the majority, Justice Bobbe J. Bridge said, "In the face of advancing technologies and evolving notions of what comprises a family unit, this case causes us to confront the manner in which our state ... defines the terms 'parents' and 'families.' "

She said neither the U.S. nor state Supreme Court has ever restricted the definition of parent or family by biology. "Today we hold that our common law recognizes the status of de-facto parents and places them in parity with biological and adoptive parents in our state," she wrote.

In regard to common law, the ruling said, "the courts will endeavor to administer justice according to the promptings of reason and common sense, which are the cardinal principles of the common law."

Six other states also recognize de-facto parents."

I really really wish women would stop doing this. Going into court to decide these issues has the potential to build up a state-by-state erosion of the laws protecting the rights of all other mothers, particularly single mothers. Don’t women understand that these defacto parenting decisions are simply being used to undermine the rights of ALL mothers.

All mothers are at risk when Judges are empowered to decide who should be the other parent of our children, if anyone at all. Since, yes, the ultimate decision by a mother can be that she doesn’t want another person to be given decision-making power over her child’s life. Sadly in today’s world with so many competing interests in children and not all for good, a mother could decide it’s in her child’s best interest that she and she alone be the final arbitrator concerning said child.

The Jerica Rhodes case is a perfect example of how leaving these sorts of decisions to a Judge undermines the rights of not just the mother, but the child as well, leaving them at the mercy of total strangers really.

Now there is another state in the union that has taken that right away from a mother and given it to a Judge to make that decision. Additionally the article tells us six other states now have similar laws on the books which recognize defacto parents. Between defacto parents, step persons now demanding rights as psychological parents, five million grandparents now with custody of other mothers’ children, where in the heck are we heading with this if it continues?

Of course, this is all the result of men trying to be in charge of everything again. I understand that the latest census showed 36% of children were born this year to single women. Yet rather then accept that irreversible fact and begin thinking of ways to assist those mothers and their children achieve their full potential as citizens; instead, men set up these sorts of legal situations and empowering of other women to act as surrogates for men (such as step persons or grandparents) so mothers have more of their rights eroded.

Because make no mistake about it, men are behind this, in spite of the lesbian lead. Since the question has to be asked as to the why of giving legal standing to a lesbian in bringing a case like this to court?


Especially since the Washington State Supreme Court was the author of the Troxel decision, which wouldn’t even give a grandparent overnight visitation. NOW you are giving some unrelated person parental rights?

So again why?

In my opinion, this is because it’s the perfect setup to get what amounts to an anti-mother ruling advanced, while appearing to be ‘assisting’ some individual woman. As who can argue the point now that this ruling MIGHT ultimately negatively impact every other mother, after it helped just one.

We saw this recently in New Jersey last May, when the court there allowed one unrelated woman to be placed on the birth certificate of her partner’s child, when she could have waited the six months or so that it would have taken an adoption to go through and had the same result. Using the ‘best interest of the child’ standard Superior Judge Patricia Medina Talbert of Newark granted the unrelated lesbian immediate parental rights to her partners’ child.

Women don’t seem to understand that building up case law that it’s in a child’s best interest to have two parents on a birth certificate, EVEN if it’s a child conceived by lesbians through artificial insemination with an anonymous donor, can one day translate into it ALWAYS being in a child’s best interest to have two parents on EVERY birth certificate.

Thus having the result of no more women being allowed to use anonymous donor insemination, as two people will ALWAYS have to be on a birth certificate. While at the same time, empowering Judges with the right to make the decision to place someone on your child’s birth certificate, even if you are AGAINST it.

It is clear now that lesbians from New Jersey to Washington State are in the vanguard here, being used by the legal system to advance an anti-mother agenda. Thus, if they continue to take these cases to court, we will eventually see a string of states which have eroded the rights of all mothers (both gay and straight) and hindered us from protecting our children’s best interest.


Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that you wrote. Right now my daughter is being taken to court by her ex-partner. She is trying to take my daughters 3 sons from her or get visitation, right now the Judge has postponed a trial untill he has studied the case further. This case is a little different then the Rhodes but could end up the same way. Its all up to the Judge.

NYMOM said...

Sorry I didn't notice your comment sooner...

Anyway you are correct, it's all up to a Judge. How did US women get to this point? All of these legal changes were sneaked under the radar of American mothers by gender neutralized feminists and men trying to ursurp the mother/child bond.

But the more important question is what are we going to do to fix it now that's it's begun.

going crazzi said...

how about this one ? my step-daughter and her boyfriend let a gay man put his name on their sons birth certificate. than she had a little girl and dyfs placed her in that home when she was 8 months old. we had no contact with my step-daughter for years due to her lifestyle. when we found out about the kids, we started the process of getting them. we have been back to court for over a year. we have also been foster parents in va, where we live. the kids call one of the men "mommy" they will be confused if they stay there. dyfs wants them to stay cuz of bonding, but they have made it all but impossible for us to see the girl, never there when we go, and it's a 9 hr drive one way. of course we can't afford a lawyer. but i guess the judge will decide when we go to court on feb 20th

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I've been through a two-year court battle over visitation of my adopted son from Russia. Recently, Judge Lum, awarded de-facto parent to my ex-partner who is verbally and emotionally abusive to my son. She never adopted my son during 6 years of his life in the US. I fled the state with my son to protect him from an unhealthy environment and moved to CA to be close to extended family and friends. She filed a restraining order against me, saying I kidnapped her son. Keep in mind, she never did adopt my son!
And now, Judge Lum has ordered that my adopted son live in WA with my ex. Even though a parent evaluator followed our case for 1 1/2 years and interviewed all family and friends of both sides and observed my son with myself and my ex in social situations and reported, in three separate reports, that I would be the best mother for my son (I thought I was already the mother, didn't I adopt him? Am I missing something?)
Not only is my adopted son living with my ex, now referred to as de-facto parent, I'm also having to pay her child support.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get my son back? My 401K that was for my sons college, is completely gone. I get visitation with my son but don't get to raise him. This is insanity and violates my constitutional rights as a parent.

NYMOM said...

There is not much that can be done vis-a-vis these situations with unrelated persons being named as 'defacto' parents and being awarded custody. I find that judges 9 times out of 10 will side with the person with no biological or legal ties to the child...just to be politically correct.

The only thing unusual about your case is that the evaluator felt you were the best parent and the Judge ruled against their finding. Sometimes there can be an appeal when a Judge does that...

I read somewhere that 90% of Judges adhere to the Evaluator's report in making their ruling. So your case is unusual in that regard.

Was your partner the stay-at-home parent with the child? Just curious...