Proving once again that what’s good for the gander isn’t necessarily going to be allowed by homophobic family court judges for the goose, a divorced mom from Tennessee has been informed she can’t allow her lesbian partner to sleep over on the same nights as her kids.
Her ex-husband, meanwhile, has remarried and his wife sleeps over – well, lives – with him every night.
Angel Chandler and Joseph Barker have been divorced for ten years, and shared custody of their two kids (now thirteen and fifteen) that whole time. They’ve both entered new relationships too, Barker remarrying five years ago while Chandler has maintained a monogamous relationship with a woman since 1999. But when they went to court late last year to modify the custody arrangements, the State of Tennessee sent both parents and both kids for psychological work-ups.
The evaluation determined Chandler’s partner was a positive influence on her two kids. The court ignored it. A “paramour” restriction was added to the custody arrangements earlier this year, restricting Chandler’s partner from being in their home on the nights when the kids were with Mom. Because after nine years, suddenly a set of teenagers are going to be shocked to find out Mom’s a lesbian?
The women are now living in a duplex, side by side, so they can abide by court rules and still be together – sort of. The ACLU has stepped into the fray, filing a brief this week that urges the court to remove the paramour restriction, calling it unconstitutional for interfering with Chandler’s abilities to raise her children as she sees fit.
If the court really wants to do what’s best for the kids, how about allowing two sets of parents to get on with their lives in loving relationships and letting those kids see examples on both sides of happy, committed, successful couples?