Lambda Legal Launches New Child Custody Resources for Married Parents Who Divorce When One Comes Out as Gay or Lesbian
"Too often, gay or lesbian parents leaving a marriage feel they have to choose between raising their children and being honest about who they are."
(New York, Monday, January 12, 2004) - In two new publications released today, Lambda Legal provides guidance in resolving child custody and visitation issues that emerge when a couple divorces because one parent is gay.
One publication is geared toward the gay or lesbian parent, and the other is aimed at the heterosexual spouse.
Lambda Legal has targeted lesbian and gay parents with an information- packed brochure. The publication, “You Don’t Need to Choose,” provides guidance in establishing custody arrangements, protecting the best interests of the child and maintaining parental rights for the gay or lesbian parent.
With the Straight Spouse Network, Lambda Legal is also reaching out to straight spouses to urge them not to use sexual orientation against their newly out co-parent. “What’s Best for Your Kids?” will be distributed by the Straight Spouse Network and is available on-line.
Above all, the goal of these two resources is to keep the focus on what is best for the children and reinforce that sexual orientation has no bearing on parenting skills, Lambda Legal said.
“Sexual orientation shouldn’t be used as a weapon in child custody battles. Most courts now recognize that sexual orientation has no bearing on what it means to be a good parent,” said Michael Adams, Director of Education and Public Affairs at Lambda Legal. “Too often, gay or lesbian parents leaving a marriage feel they have to choose between raising their children and being honest about who they are. They don’t have to make that choice,” Adams said.
“Straight spouses need to sort through their feelings of hurt and anger and build bridges of understanding with the gay or lesbian parent in order to co-parent effectively. This may take some time. Unresolved anger and hurt can turn into bitterness, acts of revenge, or despair, all of which don't do anyone any good, especially the child," said Amity Pierce Buxton, Executive Director of the Straight Spouse Network. “Equally important is that they need to know they are not alone. Their sense of isolation feeds the pain and we are here to help them work through that,” Pierce Buxton said.
For copies of “You Don’t need to Choose” (the publication for married parents who come out as gay), call Mairead Walsh at Lambda Legal at 212-809-8585 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about “What’s Best for Your Kids?” (the publication for heterosexual spouses), visit www.ssnetwk.org.
Contact: Lisa Hardaway 212-809-8585 ext. 266; pager: 888-987-1971 Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered people, and people with HIV or AIDS through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Among other things, the Straight Spouse Network seeks to expand the visibility of straight spouses and extend access to support for straight spouses and partners, current or former, of gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender mates worldwide.