A victory for gay parents' custody rights in Alabama

A judge has granted a lesbian mother standard visitation rights, setting an important precedent, advocates say

By Katie McDonough

Published August 1, 2013 1:20PM (EDT)

                                    (Flickr Creative Commons)
(Flickr Creative Commons)

An Alabama judge has granted a lesbian mother of four full visitation rights with her children, reversing a lower court's decision barring the woman's partner from being present during visits and marking a major victory for gay families, advocates say.

Alabama's so-called paramour restrictions bar unmarried partners from spending the night during custody visits, a challenge for blended gay families in the state, where gay marriage isn't legally recognized.

Chelsea Hughes' ex-husband had previously denied her access to her children based on her sexual orientation, which has been legally sanctioned by Alabama courts in the past, and the state's "paramour" restrictions had further complicated Hughes' efforts to see her children.

After more than two years of litigation, Hughes and her ex-husband settled on an agreement granting her full visitation rights without any overnight restrictions, which advocates hope will set a precedent for future cases.  

"This sets the right precedent for LGBT parents — and any unmarried parent in Alabama — because LGBT people and unmarried parents have just as much right to their children as heterosexual couples," Sam Wolfe of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which co-represented Hughes, said in a statement Wednesday.

h/t MSN News 


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Blended Families Divorce Gay Parents Gay Rights Lgbt Rights Parenting