Friday, February 16, 2007

Utah Supreme Court Refuses to Give Lesbian Parental Rights to Former Partner's Child

Salt Lake City, Utah - Today the Utah Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Jones v. Barlow and denied an unrelated woman any parental rights over the child of her former partner.
The Utah Supreme Court presented the final resolution to this long battle by concluding that "the common law doctrine of in loco parentis [in the place of a parent] does not independently grant standing to seek visitation against the wishes of a fit legal parent." Both the trial and appeals court had previously ruled that Keri Jones should have visitation with Cheryl Barlow's biological daughter.
Jones and Barlow were living together in Utah when they traveled to Vermont and entered into a civil union. The two women were still living together when Barlow gave birth following artificial insemination in 2001, but ended their relationship in 2003. Barlow is now a Christian.
Liberty Counsel is currently defending two separate cases on behalf of biological mothers whose lesbian former partners are trying to obtain parental rights over the mothers' objections.
The Utah Supreme Court has made a common sense ruling. Other courts should follow suit and put an end to the needless tug of war over innocent children. Permitting unrelated individuals to share parental rights with the real parent undermines the family. Every court should protect the right of a biological mother to direct the upbringing of her children without interference from a nonparent, former same-sex partner.