While the laws affecting same-sex couples continue to evolve in this country, a complicated patchwork of legislation has left gay and lesbian individuals with different rights based upon where they live. While the rights of gays and lesbians vary greatly from state to state, a recent study has found that gay parents are up against uphill battles in every state, including here in Georgia.
The Drexel University research has found that family law courts across the country often show a bias in favor of straight parents during child custody disputes.
The Drexel University research team reported that despite the fact that study after study has shown that having a gay or lesbian parent is not detrimental to a child’s development and upbringing, many court decisions show that judges do routinely link sexuality to parental fitness. Unfortunately, many children end up paying the price for this injustice when they are separated from their parents.
The study’s lead authors believe that the states need to enact legislation to keep their courts from considering sexual orientation as a motivating factor when evaluating parental fitness or a child’s best interests in custody cases. The researchers think this may be necessary in states that recognize same-sex marriage and in states that do not, such as Georgia.
As it stands, gay and lesbian parents in Georgia should seek legal counsel in order to protect their rights when a child custody issue arises. For any parent, a child custody dispute is a high-stakes battle as time with one’s child is invaluable. There should be no place for sexuality bias in such cases.
Source: The Guardian, “For gay and lesbian parents, equality is a myth when it comes to custody cases” Steven W. Thrasher, April 21, 2014