Anti-gay bias permeated custody case, Supreme Court rules

A lesbian mother in Pierce County has been kept from discussing her sexuality and her life style with her kids. The State Supreme Court has ruled that is unfair.

The Washington state Supreme Court found that bias permeated court proceedings in a case involving a Pierce County woman and her then husband. 

Rachelle and Charles Black were married for nearly 20 years and raised their three children in conservative Christian churches and schools in Tacoma, according to court documents.

In 2011 Rachelle told Charles she was a lesbian. Once they divorced, the court in Pierce County determined what would happen with the children

“When the court issued the parenting plan, it gave primary custody of the children to their father and gave our client very limited time with their kids after being a stay-at-home mother most of their lives,” said David Ward, Rachelle’s attorney. 

The Washington state Supreme Court decision determined that the “trial court failed to remain neutral regarding Rachelle's sexual orientation and impermissibly favored Charles' religious beliefs.”

“What was most shocking to us in our parenting plan was that it included restriction on our client’s ability to discuss religion, homosexuality, or alternative lifestyle concepts with her kids. I haven’t see that kind of provision in a parenting plan in Washington state in 20 years,” said Ward.  “Having those restrictions in a parent’s plan shows there’s a suspicion toward a gay parent that their children should view them as being different, that it’s even taboo for a parent to discuss her life with her kids.”

The case now goes back to a new judge in Pierce County where the court has to determine a new parenting plan. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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