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HOUSTON JUDGE LIMITS THE RIGHTS OF A GAY FATHER

According to The Houston Chronicle:

“A Houston judge entered an order on June 24 which prohibits a father from leaving his children alone with any man they aren’t related to ‘by blood or adoption.’ Because there was no allegation of abuse in the case, family law practitioners say the order is an unheard of infringement on the rights of parents and a judicial condemnation of the fact that the man, William Flowers, is not only gay but married to his partner, Jim Evans.

“William and Jim were married on March 19 of last year in Connecticut, one of seven states which recognize same-sex unions. It was a second marriage for both.

“When William and his ex-wife divorced in 2004, they agreed that their three children would live with her. Wanting to change the arrangement, William recently filed for custody in Harris County. A jury found that she should keep the kids, though his regular visitations would continue. Neither William nor his ex-wife alleged that the children had been abused or were in any danger of being abused.

“Following the trial, Harris County Associate Judge Charley E. Prine, Jr. issued a ruling which included an injunction applicable only to William. It prohibits him from leaving his children alone with any male to whom the kids are not related by ‘blood or adoption.’ So if, for example, William wants to visit his mother in the hospital (where she’s been for several weeks), he can’t leave his kids at home with his husband. As written, the injunction also prohibits male doctors, teachers and pastors from being alone with the children.

“Attorneys who practice family law in Texas point out that in cases of abuse, it is common for courts to prevent children from being alone with specific people. But those same lawyers say that they’ve never heard of a case in which a step-parent or long-term partner is permanently enjoined from being alone with his or her step-children when abuse is not even alleged, let alone proven. No lawyer consulted for this story has ever heard of an order which prohibits children from being left alone with an entire gender.”

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