The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

“Legal Stranger” Given Parental Rights in Custody Case

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Adoptive mother must share children with former roommate and girlfriend

By Nathan A. Cherry

Martinsburg, W.V. – Below is the story of a recent court decision in Montana where, for the first time, parental rights were given to a non-parent. Not just a non-parent, a “legal stranger,” as Alliance Defense Fund legal counsel Austin Nimocks stated it. This is more than frightening; this is a shocking picture of where our judicial system is headed as they seek to purposely play culture wars in cases involving former homosexual partners.

The Montana Supreme Court has granted parental rights to a non-parent.

                For ten years, two women lived together in a lesbian relationship, during which one of them — Barbara Maniaci — solely adopted two children. But in 2006, Maniaci left her roommate and the homosexual lifestyle, and later married a man. Following the break-up, the former roommate sued for — and now has won — parental rights.
                Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, tells OneNewsNow that Montana’s highest court decided to uphold the demands of a legal stranger.
                “What the Montana Supreme Court did was give a third party — the parent’s former roommate and girlfriend — parental rights…,” says the attorney. “And it runs contrary to clear precedent dating back several years in Montana and the United States Supreme Court. [It’s] a very, very disturbing decision.”
                He says that historically courts have upheld the rights of “fit natural” parents. “When we undermine the rights of fit natural parents, it causes harm to families and children,” argues Nimocks. “Giving strangers and third parties access to kids is not in the best interest of children or families.”
                In making the decision, Nimocks contends the court undermines the rights of parents to control the upbringing of their children and to make sure that their authority is the final authority.
                One of the dissenting judges in Montana wrote that the decision in favor of a third party “will open a Pandora’s Box of potential attacks upon the right of fit and capable parents to raise their own children.”

For decades parents and children could rest easy knowing that courts would not dare split them up, or intervene in a natural parent’s ability to raise their kids. After all, whether a biological parent, or an adoptive parent, that parent has the majority right to children involved in any case. But now, what we are seeing is an intentional attempt to destroy the idea of the nuclear family, the traditional family, in order to make the definition of family any gathering of people under the same roof. The purpose for this is simply an effort to redefine marriage and family in order to give credibility to the homosexual lifestyle, or any lifestyle for that matter.

More activist judges are throwing precedent and common sense law out the window as they push the homosexual agenda on traditional American families. The minority groups are being given special rights and treatment as the civil rights of the majority are stripped away. Unless more Americans become vocal, letting their elected officials know where they stand, we can only expect more headlines like this one.


Written by Nathan Cherry

October 14, 2009 at 4:15 pm

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