Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Another Miller Jenkins Case

You think Lisa Miller, the “former” lesbian trying to deny visitation to her former partner, comes off selfish and vindictive? Try Sara Wheeler. This AP report tells the story:

Wheeler, 36, and her partner, Missy, decided to start a family together and share the Wheeler last name. In 2000, Sara Wheeler gave birth to a son, Gavin, through artificial insemination. Two years later, they decided Missy Wheeler should adopt the child and legally become his second parent.

Georgia law doesn’t specifically say whether gay parents can adopt a child, so the decision was up to a judge in the Atlanta area’s DeKalb County. After an adoption investigator determined that both partners wanted it, the judge cleared the request.


Eventually, the relationship went south. Why? Because Sara cheated on her partner. And now Sara is going to court and asking them to declare adoptions by gays illegal and therefore void the adoption of that child and deny Missy all parental rights. Thankfully, the courts rejected her argument:

It didn’t go so well. Her lawsuit seeking to throw out the adoption was rejected by the DeKalb County judge and then the state Court of Appeals.

Then the Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 vote in February, declined to hear the case. Only months earlier the court had upheld the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage, which Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004.

But here’s the really ridiculous part: she’s whining about how uncomfortable she now feels in the gay community after what she did:

Wheeler is coming to grips with the fact that she’s become an outcast for taking this step in a custody fight for her child. But she says that isn’t what her fight is about: “It’s about motherly rights.”…

Aside from a few gay friends, she has turned away from the gay community. She no longer dates, and doesn’t go to gay clubs or events any more. She said she is rethinking whether she is still a lesbian or whether she should abandon dating for good.

“I just don’t feel comfortable in that scene,” she says. “I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

She knows she’s seen as a betrayer; but in a sense, she feels she was the one betrayed.

“Before I’m anything — gay or lesbian — I’m a mother,” she says. “And the most important thing is to make sure my son has a relationship with his biological mother.”

What a selfish bitch. Your son already has a relationship with his biological mother and nothing could change that. But you’re trying to deny him a relationship with his non-biological mother, with whom your son bonded in a parent/child relationship for 4 years before your selfish actions destroyed that relationship. And now you want to destroy not only that parent/child relationship but all others in that state? And you have the nerve to whine about being an outcast? Go to hell, lady.

Comments

  1. #1 Robert
    March 27, 2007

    How is this about mother’s rights? This is about gay rights. If Missy was a man, and had adopted Sara’s son, she would have no legal recourse. She is trying to say that because Missy isn’t a man, and their relationship wasn’t heterosexual that it is somehow less deserving of legal protection. She is a total bitch, and her actions are selfish and evil (I define evil as consciously and knowingly harming people.)

  2. #2 Chuck C
    March 27, 2007

    She said she is rethinking whether she is still a lesbian

    “Just for that – I’m not going to be homosexual anymore! SO THERE!!!”

    That’ll show ‘em.

  3. #3 CPT_Doom
    March 27, 2007

    She said she is rethinking whether she is still a lesbian

    That’s funny – I’m rethinking whether she has any integrity or character.

    Unless the other mother has abused or mistreated the child, quite frankly, she made her bed, and she has to lie in it.

  4. #4 Stuart Coleman
    March 27, 2007

    I think she’s generally in line with how most people think, “I’m going to do what’s best for me and damn the consequences to anyone else, but if it backfires on me then have pity on me.” Remember, everyone’s a victim and no one’s to blame.

    I’m just glad the courts didn’t side with her.

  5. #5 Poly
    March 27, 2007

    Ed:

    Sara is no more selfish than any heterosexual person who tries to use the laws to deny their ex-partner any say over their children. Anyone who thinks that this exact same thing doesn’t happen with heterosexual couples – married or not – who break up is simply not connected to reality.

    Robert opined:

    If Missy was a man, and had adopted Sara’s son, she would have no legal recourse.

    Bulls–t! You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

    If a biological parent can be denied access to his/her children – and they are every day – why would one think that an adopted parent could not be?

    Finally, why would anyone assume that a homosexual person would be any more ethically driven in these circumstances than would a heterosexual person? I wouldn’t. Is this some sort of reverse prejudice on your part?

  6. #6 Ed Brayton
    March 27, 2007

    Poly wrote:

    Sara is no more selfish than any heterosexual person who tries to use the laws to deny their ex-partner any say over their children. Anyone who thinks that this exact same thing doesn’t happen with heterosexual couples – married or not – who break up is simply not connected to reality.

    There’s one significant difference: she’s not only trying to prevent her own ex-partner from having a relationship with their child (as you note, this goes on often in straight relationships as well), she’s trying to deny such relationships to every single gay parent in the state of Georgia. Yeah, I’d say that’s worse. I’m not aware of any case where a straight mother who wanted to keep her ex-husband out of the picture did so by trying to get the courts to declare all husbands not to be legal parents.

    Bulls–t! You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

    If a biological parent can be denied access to his/her children – and they are every day – why would one think that an adopted parent could not be?

    No poly, you are missing the point completely. This woman has made no attempt at all to claim that Missy is an unfit parent. There has been no accusation made of any behavior on her part that would warrant excluding her. She is making the argument that Missy should not have any legal rights as a parent solely because it was a gay relationship and gay parents are not explicitly allowed to adopt in Georgia law. Yes, biological parents are sometimes denied parental rights, but there has to be a very serious cause for it. The parental rights of a heterosexual adoptive parent in this situation would be exactly the same as a heterosexual biological parent; it would be assumed and enforceable in the absence of a serious behavioral reason to warrant taking those rights away (and the courts are very, very reluctant to do so except in the most extreme circumstances). Robert was exactly right in what he said, that if this was a heterosexual adoptive parent there would be no argument at all about his parental rights in this situation.

    Finally, why would anyone assume that a homosexual person would be any more ethically driven in these circumstances than would a heterosexual person? I wouldn’t. Is this some sort of reverse prejudice on your part?

    I’m afraid you’ll have to quote me saying anything like what you assume. I didn’t say anything remotely like an expectation that gay people would be more ethically driven than a straight person. I said she’s being a selfish bitch, and she is. The fact that there are lots of heterosexual selfish bitches (and assholes, of course) does not change the validity of anything I said.

  7. #7 Anonymous
    March 27, 2007

    Ed Brayton said,

    There’s one significant difference: she’s not only trying to prevent her own ex-partner from having a relationship with their child (as you note, this goes on often in straight relationships as well), she’s trying to deny such relationships to every single gay parent in the state of Georgia. I’d say that’s worse.

    I think that you are jumping to conclusions. Harming other gay families would be an unavoidable side-effect of the way that she is trying to end her own relationship. She’s not necessarily being malicious towards other gay families as you seem to imply. And if she is just being “selfish” by not caring about how this could affect other gay families, well, sometimes people gotta do what they gotta do.

    She is asking the judges to be “activist” judges and “legislate from the bench” by creating a new law that gays are not allowed to adopt — and understandably the judges do not want to oblige her.

    BTW, this is quite a bit different from the Miller-Jenkins parental rights case. In that case, the broader issue is whether and when a state that does not recognize a gay union in another state may be forced to recognize a right or a relationship arising from that union (though I think that the Miller-Jenkins case is a bad test case for addressing that issue). I think that this issue is likely to arise in other areas, e.g., inheritance rights.

  8. #8 Robert
    March 27, 2007

    Thanks Ed, my argument was indeed only about the attempt to declare all gay adoptions as void on the basis of the parents being gay. If Missy were a man, then Sara wouldn’t be able to make the legal arguments she is attempting to make.

    Yes Poly, parents have their kids taken from them, but not on the basis of their sexual orientation, you have to show that they have done something to disqualify themselves as capable parents. The fact that Missy is a women, and not the biological mother has nothing to do with whether she can be a good mother.

    Anon: what she is doing is much worse, for the sake of her selfish arguments (of which I haven’t actually heard one that makes sense in depriving Missy of her legal rights to her legal child) she would be attacking the legal protections loving families.

    No other divorce that I’ve heard of has had the possible consequence of removing the legal protections of other families. Imagine if she wins, and another family in a simliar situation has the biological parent die. The state could remove the child from their other parent that they have known for years and prevent them from being seen. All because Sara is being vindictive to her ex-partner. There are real and terrible possible consequences to other families, and by ignoring them and preceding onward with her absurd claims she has proven herself a terrible and evil person.

  9. #9 Angela
    March 28, 2007

    All this case shows is that gay people can be as fucked up, nasty, and backstabbing as straight people. In other words, they’re just like the rest of us and should be afforded all the same rights and inconveniences. Like sharing custody of children with a former partner.

    You’re right — what a bitch. I like the idea that she’ll die alone.

  10. #10 Poly
    March 28, 2007

    Robert wrote:

    Yes Poly, parents have their kids taken from them, but not on the basis of their sexual orientation, you have to show that they have done something to disqualify themselves as capable parents.

    This is just a silly statement. Of course the particular argument of “orientation” is essentially available only to a parent who’s ex-partner is gay. So what?

    Let’s talk about what could “disqualify” – to use your term – a straight man in some jurisdictions. You are obviously unaware that in some places in the US, a male ex can be denied parental rights simply if it can be shown that he goes to (legal) strip clubs and bars once a week, or if it can be shown that he is in a relationship with another woman – even if that woman is single. Obviously, those arguments are unlikely to be available if the male ex were gay.

    I repeat – so what?

    Perahps you actually agree that a straight man would “disqualify” himself in your mind by this behavior? Why?

    You also seem to have the misapprehension that custody hearings involving straight couples are all sweetness and light and rose perfume, and can never be nasty, character-assassinating, and selfishly driven just like this one is. Because, you seem to be implying, if the couple is straight, the legal system just loves everything about them.

    Get real.

    No other divorce that I’ve heard of has had the possible consequence of removing the legal protections of other families.

    All I can say is that if you haven’t heard, you’ve been living in a bubble. You obviously don’t have any concept of family law and its precedents.

    Crappy precedents are set all the time as a result of custody cases. Precedents involving behavior that has little or nothing at all to do with whether a person can be a fit parent or not. Precedents often turning on the social sensibilities of one community or even one particular judge.

    Welcome to the real world.

    If you were criticizing the unfairness of the whole system of custody law, I’d be with you. But you seem to reserve your criticism only for those cases where a gay couple is involved because…well… just because. Why?

  11. #11 Poly
    March 28, 2007

    Ed said:

    This woman has made no attempt at all to claim that Missy is an unfit parent. There has been no accusation made of any behavior on her part that would warrant excluding her.

    Please see my reply to Robert about how irrelevant behavior and life-style arguments are constantly made in custody cases. I’ll ask you the same question I asked Robert. Do you think that the behavior I cited in the reply to Robert would “warrant excluding” a straight man? If you do think so, why?

    Ed continued:

    Poly: Finally, why would anyone assume that a homosexual person would be any more ethically driven in these circumstances than would a heterosexual person? I wouldn’t. Is this some sort of reverse prejudice on your part?
    I’m afraid you’ll have to quote me saying anything like what you assume. I didn’t say anything remotely like an expectation that gay people would be more ethically driven than a straight person.

    Please reread my reply. I never said that you – Ed - assumed that. I asked the question to Robert why he – or anyone else – could assume that. That part of my message wasn’t even directed to you, it was directed to Robert.

    In the future, I won’t combine replies like this. I thought people here could figure this out without the need for a bunch of separate messages. Guess not.

  12. #12 Ed Brayton
    March 28, 2007

    Poly wrote:

    Do you think that the behavior I cited in the reply to Robert would “warrant excluding” a straight man? If you do think so, why?

    Completely irrelevant. This selfish bitch is arguing that all gay people should be excluded from adoption across the board, solely for being gay, and even after she asked her partner to be the adoptive parent and after her child had 4 years to bond with that parent. You can wave your hands and point to something else all you want, but it does absolutely nothing to change the truth of my position that this is astonishingly hypocritical and vile. That there may be other hypocritical and vile things does exactly nothing to diminish the truth of my statement.

  13. #13 386sx
    March 28, 2007

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070328/28dobson.htm

    “Everyone knows he’s conservative and has come out strongly for the things that the pro-family movement stands for,” Dobson said of Thompson. “[But] I don’t think he’s a Christian; at least that’s my impression,” Dobson added, saying that such an impression would make it difficult for Thompson to connect with the Republican Party’s conservative Christian base and win the GOP nomination.

    I think maybe Mr. Dobson is living in the past. Thanks to people like Mr. Dobson, the Republican Party doesn’t have a conservative Christian base any more. Or at least not Mr. Dobson’s idea of what a conservative Christian base is, anyway. You can thank yourself for that Mr. Dobson. Mr. Dobson, meet Mr. Dobson, lol.

    Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Thompson, took issue with Dobson’s characterization of the former Tennessee senator. “Thompson is indeed a Christian,” he said. “He was baptized into the Church of Christ.”

    See, there you go. I have no idea where Mr. Dobson gets the idea that Thompson is not a Christian. He was baptized into the Church of Christ, and it doesn’t get any more Christian than that.

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