Monday, April 10, 2006

bioMom loses kids to nonbioMom

This one has preyed on my mind for several days now, and I'm still not sure what I think. When the 7 year relationship falls apart, the two daughters by articifial insemination of a lesbian relationship, both of the same biological mother, are initially kept away from the non-biological mother (nonbioMom). But an appeal grants "shared contact". Then, bioMom with a new partner (nonbioMom2?) secretly relocates across the country. Once they're found the court grants "primary care" to nonbioMum.


The judge said: "We have moved into a world where norms that seemed safe 20 or more years ago no longer run. In the eyes of the child, the natural parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long settled care, has become the psychological parent."

OK, I guess I can see that, but by the numbers given in the article, the children, or at least the younger, have not actually spent very much of their lives in the care of the nonbioMom, but then we have only the few details in the article.

Also, the judges said: it was "a flagrant breach of the court's control of the arrangements for the children and an elaborate deception of" nonbioMom, which strikes me as a more likely reason for the court's decision -- they don't like their "control" to be undermined.

That said, bioMum's behavior was certainly repugnant and most likely malicious. I'd hesitate to say that she deserved what she got, but it's sure tempting. On the other hand, as so rarely gets really asked, what of the children? How was their relationship with nonbioMum? The article doesn't actually say. The Telegraph is, predictably, more concerned with the "landmark" nature of the ruling.

"Landmark" is an interesting word to use. It implies a clearly visible, easily identifiable point by which we may orient ourselves and use to guide our way. How is this case a "landmark"? The obvious: is it that gay parental relationships should be given as much weight as straight ones? The not so obvious: is it that the courts should not be defied on pain of loss of your kids? The even less obvious, but subtly significant: is it that one parent should not interfere with the rights of access of the other? We know from the likes of Fathers4Justice that the UK is sometimes not so hot on the last, so perhaps this case can be used by even straight parents to defend against the excesses of malicious ex's.

(As ever, of course, I am given to wonder at the consequences of fatherlessness for these two girls, perhaps the one issue to which bioMom, nonbioMom and nonbioMom2 would unite in their answer.)

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