Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Okay, here’s an odd story, perhaps. The Alliance Defense Fund, the same religious right legal group that is representing Steven Williams in his lawsuit against the Cupertino School District (the group that sent out the utterly dishonest “Declaration of Independence Banned from Classroom” press release), is also representing a woman who was in a lesbian relationship before the Utah Supreme Court in a custody battle with her now ex-spouse. Cheryl Barlow and Keri Jones were a lesbian couple for quite some time. They made the decision to have a child and Barlow underwent artificial insemination. 5 months into the pregnancy, the two women went to Vermont and were joined in a legal civil union there, which is not enforced in Utah. The child was born and had the surnames of both mothers on her birth certificate. Jones was also given legal guardianship along with Barlow. For the first two years of the child’s life, they were both mothers to the child and shared all parental duties. But now Barlow says that she is no longer a lesbian and now has religious objections to her child being exposed to her still-lesbian former partner.

The trial judge ruled that Jones did have the right to visitation with the child, and also had the responsibility to pay child support, which is fine with her. His ruling was based upon several other court rulings and longstanding law on child rearing relationships that are in loco parentis, that is where someone performs the role of a parent to a child without a biological or legal relationship with them. It’s not at all unusual for a stepfather or stepmother who has had a longstanding parental relationship with a child to be granted visitation rights, for the obvious reason that disrupting parental relationships is often unhealthy for the child. Presumably, the ADF would not be opposed to this in all circumstances, but since this involves a gay person, to hell with consistency.

The appeals court in Utah upheld the lower court ruling, by the way, and the ADF is now appealing to the Utah Supreme Court. I hope they lose that one as badly as they’re gonna lose the Steven Williams Case. This child had a two year relationship with both mothers. To remove that bond just because one of them has changed their mind is very unhealthy for the child.


  1. #1 SharonB
    December 29, 2004

    I’ll make no secret how much I absoletely HATE the ADF. They are doing as much as they possibly can to ensure that the term “Christian lawyer” remains an oxymoron. It is absolutely disgusting how, in their communiques they refer to Jones as a “non-parent.”

    Amazing how mouthing, “I B xGay” immediately get$ the ADF running in to help de$troy the only family a child ha$ known!

  2. #2 Jim Anderson
    December 29, 2004

    Wasn’t sure if you’d heard about this yet. In Arkansas, at least, reason has trumped prejudice.

  3. #3 Benjamin Clark
    January 10, 2005

    Organizations like the ADF will continue doing their sick deeds. As gay and lesbian families continue to be recognized by more and more Americans as legitimate families organizations like the ADF will be looked upon in the same way as the horrific racist KKK and others who supported segregation during the 1960’s. The contrast will intensify as time marches on and the ADF will be viewed as more and more extreme in nature and will eventually fade into the dust of the past.

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