A mother in the US who was banned from coming out as gay to her three children has finally had the court ruling overturned.
Rachelle Black (not pictured) came out as gay and filed for divorce from her conservative Christian ex-husband Charles in 2011, after which her ex-husband was granted primary custody over the children.
According to Supreme Court documents, as part of the final parenting plan he insisted she “refrain from having further conversations with the children regarding religion, homosexuality, or other alternative lifestyle concepts.”
The agreement also stopped her from introducing her sons to LGBT-related movies, books, events, or “symbolic clothing or jewellery” and she was prohibited from “engaging in conduct that could reasonably be interpreted as being related to LGBT topics.”
According to the documents, child custody attorney Kelly Theriot Leblanc referred to Rachelle’s sexuality as a “lifestyle choice” and said: “[Christian] concepts and ideals the children had been taught throughout their lives were being eviscerated by Rachelle’s coming out.”
But six years after the divorce, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled the ban to be unconstitutional as it “considered Rachelle’s sexual orientation as a factor” and accused the lower court of “improper bias.”
Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst wrote: “We are not confident the trial court here approached the parenting plan with an attitude of neutrality regarding sexual orientation that fairness demands.”
Legal Voice attorney David Ward, who argued Rachelle’s case, welcomed the verdict and said: “If a parent’s sexual orientation is wrongfully considered in a child custody case, discrimination is baked in to every layer of that decision.
“We applaud the Supreme Court for recognising this, and we hope this decision will send a strong message to other courts: Discrimination against LGBTQ parents has no place in the courtroom.”