Seven-year-old resists her lesbian ‘mother’
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.”