Lesbian non-bio mom Keri Jones announced she will not appeal a February Utah Supreme Court ruling that said planning and raising a child with her (now ex) partner (and obtaining a court order designating both of them as co-guardians) was not enough to give her visitation rights. Jones says she fears a federal court would rule the same way, and “Having that kind of ruling on a national level would be horrific.” Already, other Utah families are feeling the impact of the state ruling. At least one other bio mom has denied her ex-partner visitation because of it, though the non-bio mom still hopes a court will rule in her favor.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights adds that in 2004, a Utah trial court had granted Jones visitation. It was Jones’ partner, Cheryl Barlow, who now identifies as an “ex-lesbian” and is represented by an anti-gay legal organization, who appealed this decision to the Utah Supreme Court. (The Utah Chief Justice dissented from the February ruling, however, writing “While this case is, in part, about parental rights, it is also about whether children in nontraditional families, with nontraditional but nonetheless real parents, are entitled to have their interests addressed just as if they had been born into traditional families.” Amen.)
If I was denied visitation of my son, my instinct would be to fight it as long and as hard as I could. Jones is keeping the bigger picture in mind, and for that, deserves our thanks—as well as our recommitment to winning equality for all our families.