Gay Dad Fights to Continue Seeing His Kids Without Restrictions
(NEW YORK, September 3, 1998) -- Next week, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund will argue against an appeal that seeks to have Maryland's highest court reinstate a stringent, anti-gay visitation order limiting contact between two children, their divorced father, and his partner.
The Maryland Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Boswell v. Boswell on Wednesday, September 9. Lambda Cooperating Attorney and American University law professor Nancy Polikoff will argue on Robert Glenn Boswell's behalf.
The case is on appeal from the state Court of Special Appeals, which in 1997 vacated a trial court ruling prohibiting Boswell from having overnight visits with his son and daughter, now 10 and 7, and from visiting his children while with his partner or anyone with whom he was living in a non-marital relationship, and "anyone having homosexual tendencies."
"The best interests of children are not served when courts put up artificial walls that force a parent to hide a loved one from his own kids," Polikoff said. "Maryland courts have long recognized that a parent's private, non-marital relationships should play no role in custody or visitation determinations if the children aren't being harmed. The appellants are asking the state's highest court to overturn this well-established standard," she added.
The Court of Special Appeals found that the cruel restrictions, which the mother, the social worker assigned to the case, and the children's psychologist had not requested, were an abuse of court discretion.
Lambda Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn said, "The trial court imposed restrictions on our client without looking at whether his being gay or living with a partner has any actual effect on the kids. The best interests standard means considering the specific needs of the children, not applying a presumption about gay parents."
Lambda and Polikoff represent Boswell, with assistance from local attorney Andrea Colender. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Lambda is the nation's oldest and largest legal organization serving lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV and AIDS.
WHO: Lambda Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn and Lambda Cooperating Attorney Nancy Polikoff represent Robert Glenn Boswell
WHAT: Oral argument in Boswell v. Boswell, appealed to the Maryland Court of Appeals after a lower court lifted anti-gay restrictions on Boswell's visitation rights
WHEN: Wednesday, September 9, 1998, 9:30 a.m.
WHERE: 361 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, MD
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Contact: Peg Byron 212-809-8585, 888-987-1984 (pager); Nancy Polikoff 202-274-4232