Lesbian custody tragedy

Both women cared for the child, but Kentucky law only allowed one woman to adopt her. The one who couldn't sign the document lost custody.

Topics: Broadsheet, LGBT, Love and Sex,

Nine years ago, a lesbian couple decided they wanted a child. Unable to conceive one through artificial insemination, they decided to adopt. Since Kentucky law forbade a gay couple to formally adopt the child, Brenda Fawbush decided to let her partner sign the paperwork. Although both women cared for their daughter until the couple split three years ago, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled last week that Fawbush had no legal custody of her child.

Fawbush had sued for custody and visitation rights when her former partner didn’t let her see the girl following the bitter separation. But the judges unanimously agreed that Fawbush was not the girl’s “de facto custodian” because she was not the primary caregiver, despite “participating substantially in the support and rearing of a child for a significant period of time.” A lower court had ruled that she couldn’t apply for such rights because although she was the primary breadwinner, she was not the primary caregiver. Under state law, she had to be both.

Fawbush argued that she had performed a “sufficiently parent-like role in the life of the child.” As a result, her lawyer, Bryan Gatewood, told the court the child would be “permanently severed from one of the only two parents she has ever known.”

While the courts play with terminology, a woman who nobly supported her child financially and emotionally hasn’t seen her in three years. And a child has lost a woman who loved her.



In other news, the Arkansas Supreme Court is reviewing a case on why the state banned gays from being foster parents.

“What are you trying to protect against?” Justice Donald Corbin asked a lawyer for the state Department of Health and Human Services. He added that there is “no evidence in the record” that homosexuals make bad foster parents and that sexual orientation has no bearing on one’s ability to be a good parent.

Lead the way, Justice!

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at sarah@saraherichards.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 5
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    A photo contest winner

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    A photo contest winner

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    Superhero Project

    “In life many people have two faces. You think you know someone, but they are not always what they seem. You can’t always trust people. My hero would be someone who is trustworthy, honest and always has their heart in the right place.” Ateya Grade 9 @ Mirman Hayati School (Herat, Afghanistan)

    “One girl can be silenced, but a nation of girls telling their stories becomes free” slideshow

    Superhero Project

    “I pray every night before I go to bed for a hero or an angel capable of helping defenseless children and bringing them happiness. I reach up into the sky hoping to touch a spirit who can make my wish come true.” Fatimah Grade 9 @ Majoba Hervey (Herat, Afghanistan)

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>