Lesbian fights gay adoption

Gay rights advances threatened by nasty custody battle.

Published March 26, 2007 9:22PM (EDT)

Oh boy. In order to win custody of her biological son, a lesbian in Atlanta, Georgia is arguing that gay couples aren't legally allowed to adopt. The story goes like so: Sara Wheeler and her partner Missy (who took the Wheeler last name) decided to raise a child together. Through artificial insemination, Sara gave birth to a son. Two years later, they successfully fought to grant Missy status as the boy's second, adoptive parent. The relationship soon went south, Sara and Missy broke up and now they're in court battling for custody.

Sara argues that since Georgia law doesn't explicitly allow for gay couples to adopt (though note it isn't forbidden), the judge's initial ruling in their adoption request should be overruled. "There's nothing that states this is an acceptable adoption," she told Associated Press. "If Georgia wants to allow it, it needs to make proper laws." Now Sara -- who says she's unsure that she's still a lesbian -- has become the archenemy of Atlanta's gay community. A column in a local gay newspaper called her "self-hating" and gay rights group Lambda Legal officially supported Missy's right to joint custody in a state Supreme Court filing.

Unsurprisingly, the story has gotten widespread media pickup -- it is all too perfectly packaged for sensational nightly news teasers. But, hopefully the media hoopla won't distract from the fundamental issue at hand: adoptive parents' rights. Sara doesn't have any legitimate character complaints to level at Missy, so she's seizing on her only shot at defeating the joint custody request: undercutting the original adoption ruling. As Sara's first lawyers cautioned her, "the case could set gay rights back a century" -- so, you can believe we'll be watching this one carefully.

It all just serves as a reminder: Gay and lesbian relationships can be every bit as messed up as straight ones!

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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