Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gay Marriage Gone Bad

Stories like this one bug me. In this case, I'm bothered on several different levels.

First, there's the fact that a child is being denied access to one of her parents. One can argue against gay marriage, but the fact remains that this child has known two people as her parents, and now she's being deprived access to one of them. As always in the case of custody dispute, it's terrible when one (or both) of the adults decide to put the child(ren) in the middle.

Second, to call Lisa a hypocrite doesn't do her justice. She was willing to go to Vermont because her state didn't recognize the union she wanted. But when she didn't like that union, or the decision of Vermont in how to terminate it, she ran back to Virginia, the state that refused to embrace her relationship, in the hope of getting a decision more to her liking.

Third, on the matter of the legal case, if I'm reading it (and this editorial) correctly, I think the Virginia judge made a horrendous decision and I hope a state appeals court reverses it. This isn't just a matter of the rights of homosexuals, but of respect for the Vermont court's decision. These women were married in Vermont and lived there at the time of divorce. The fact that this woman left there after the divorce (and unfavorable ruling) shouldn't give a Virginia court jurisdiction to disregard the Vermont court's ruling.

If Virginia wants to disregard gay unions/marriages that's one thing. But Vermont was the residency of the two parties to the dispute at the time of the dispute, so it's appropriate that a Vermont court has adjudicated the dispute. This seems little different from a child custody case between biological parents who never married -- in such a case no court would look to disregard what another state's courts had done even in the absence of a marriage. Instead, it defers to the other state's court that considered what's best for a child.