Seven-year-old re­sists her les­bian ‘mother’

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By S.A. Miller

Two Bal­ti­more County judges have de­layed rul­ing in a child- cus­tody­casethathas­forceda7-year-old girl to spend time with her adop­tive mother’sformer­les­bian­part­ner,de­spite ob­jec­tions from a court-ap­pointed child-wel­fare spe­cial­ist.

A so­cial worker for Bal­ti­more County Cir­cuit Court re­ported in Au­gust that the ex-part­ner’s overnight vis­its with the girl “prob­a­bly caused acute un­der­ly­ing tur­moil”forthechild,ac­cord­ing­to­court records.

“At this time, she seems emo­tion­al­lyvul­ner­a­ble­an­d­ex­pe­ri­enc­ing­se­vere anx­i­ety in re­sponse to the cri­sisthatthis­dis­pute­has­pre­cip­i­tated,” so­cial worker Ch­eryl Tay­lor says in there­port.“Overnightweek­end­vis­its seem to pose par­tic­u­lar sep­a­ra­tionthreat­san­danx­i­ety­for[the­girl] at this time.”

There­portremainssealed,bu­tex­cerpts of Miss Tay­lor’s find­ings are cited else­where in the court record.

Miss Tay­lor notes that the girl told ev­ery­body in­volved in the case — in­clud­ing her mother, her mother’s for­mer part­ner and the fam­ily pe­di­a­tri­cian — that she does not want the vis­its to con­tinue. The so­cial worker also has rec­om­mended that the child “re­main in long-term psy­chother­apy.”

Still, two suc­ces­sive judges pre­sidin­gover­the­case­havede­layedrulin­gontheemer­gen­cyre­quest­bythe mother, iden­ti­fied as Jan­ice M., to stop the court-or­dered vis­i­ta­tion.

Judge John O. Hen­negan put off rul­ing on the mother’s re­quest in Au­gust. The case last month was trans­ferred to Judge Michael J. Finifter,whosched­uleda­hear­ing­for Jan. 28.

The Wash­ing­ton Times is with­hold­ing the full names of Jan­ice M. and­her­former­les­bian­part­ner,Mar­garet K., to pro­tect the iden­tity of the girl, who was adopted from an or­phan­ageinIn­di­ain2000byJan­iceM.

Both women de­clined to be in­ter- viewed for this re­port.

“The lit­tle girl doesn’t even know what a les­bian is,” said Susie Banks, 49,whose7-year-old­daugh­ter­is­best friends with Jan­ice M.’s daugh­ter. “She has no clue why this wo­man is do­ing this to her. [. . . ] She wrote a note to her mother last Christ­mas say­ing she wants a dad and a dog.”

Mrs. Banks, a home­maker from El­li­cott City, Md., has ap­peared as a wit­ness for Jan­ice M.

Mar­garet K., who was Jan­ice M.’s live-in girl­friend from 1987 un­til 2004, won vis­i­ta­tion rights to Jan­ice M.’s adop­tive daugh­ter in a court rul­ing in Fe­bru­ary.

The rul­ing, which de­nied Mar­garet K. cus­tody of the girl but re­quired that she have vis­i­ta­tion with the child ev­ery Wed­nes­day and ev­ery other week­end, was up­held this­mon­thi­nade­ci­sion­bytheCourt of Spe­cial Ap­peals.

The­courts­foundthatMar­garetK. is the child’s de facto par­ent.

Ho­mo­sex­ual rights groups and the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union have ral­lied be­hind Mar­garet K.

The case also has en­er­gized pro­po­nents of same-sex “mar­riage” who say that is­sues of child cus­tody and vis­i­ta­tion would be re­solved more eas­ily if ho­mo­sex­ual unions were legally rec­og­nized.

In Jan­uary, a Bal­ti­more City Cir­cuitCourt­judgeruledthatthes­tate’s 33-year-old ban on same-sex “mar­riage” is un­con­sti­tu­tional. The case will be ar­gued next month in Mary­land’s high­est court, the Court of Ap­peals.

Dan Fur­man­sky, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the ho­mo­sex­ual rights group Equal­ity Mary­land, said he was pleased that Mar­garet K.’s case was be­ing judged solely on the ba­sis of what was in the best in­ter­est of Jan­ice M.’s daugh­ter.

“Sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion has no bear­ing on the abil­ity to take care of a child,”Mr.Fur­man­sky­said.“Our­po­si­tion­isthat­ev­erycase­shouldbe­de­cided in­di­vid­u­ally, and the best in­ter­est of the child is what would be de­ter­mined.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.