Anti-gay animus seems to know no bounds, and when it is held by a Republican judge in a position of authority, it has the power to destroy families. This story out of Collin County Texas is one of the more cruel abuses of this power I've read about in quite some time.

Lesbian couple Page Price and Carolyn Compton have been together for three years. Compton has two children from a previous marriage that ended in divorce in 2011. At the time, she had been granted shared custody of the children. In April of this year, her ex-husband challenged her custody rights. Judge John Roach Jr. of McKinney, Texas presided over the case and handed down a ruling that Price must move out of her home within 30 days or Compton will lose all custody rights of her children.

Citing his disapproval of Compton's "lifestyle", he inserted (see update) a morality clause in the divorce papers.

Judge John Roach Jr., a Republican who presides over the 296th District Court, enforced the “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers on Tuesday, May 7. Under the clause, someone who has a “dating or intimate relationship” with the person or is not related “by blood or marriage” is not allowed after 9 p.m. when the children are present. Price was given 30 days to move out of the home because the children live with the couple.
Price has posted the following on her Facebook page.
Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home.
Compton's ex-husband appears to be a real charmer himself. According to the couple, he rarely sees his children. That hasn't stopped him from harassing his ex-wife, however. She has accused him of stalking her and in 2011 he pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal trespassing.

The couple plans to appeal Roach's decision and their attorney feels confident that the judgment will be overturned. Even so, the fact that they have been made to fight this ruling based on the personal animus of one judge is onerous and unjust even for a state as hostile towards gay people as Texas. Their attorney believes this case could be pivotal for the rights of gay couples in the state.

If the couple decides to appeal, he said the case could set an example in Texas for how courts will interpret the [morality] clause for gay couples.

“This could be an important case in Texas,” he said. “I think it’s a case to watch.”

The reason we fight for marriage equality at the Federal level couldn't be more apparent. When you have conservative states that will take extraordinary measures to deny gay people our right to live our lives and form our families, we must be granted protection from them. Thank you, Texas, for driving home this point so hideously well.

Update: It has been rightfully pointed out that I used the word inserted above, when in fact the judge enforced the morality clause that was already in the document. That is an important distinction and I very much appreciate this being brought to my attention.

Originally posted to Steven Payne on Sat May 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism, Invisible People, RaceGender DiscrimiNATION, and Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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