October is LGBT history month. Themes highlighted throughout the month include human rights, civil rights, and equal marriage rights for members of the GLBTQ community.
Cases such as that of NY lesbian mothers Allison Scollar and Emmy-winning TV producer Brook Altman bring to light the difficulties often faced by gay and lesbian parents in gay adoption or same-sex adoption cases.
On October 1, 2012, the media is reporting that in their heated custody battle, Scollar, the adoptive mother of the 6-year-old daughter they have in common, was granted full custody at the end of the case.
As LGBT history month gets underway, this ruling stands to set a precedent for same-sex couples, or gay and lesbian families stuck in the legal system trying to claim their parental rights after a gay adoption.
Scollar and Altman met on a one-night stand and began living together shortly thereafter. Their daughter was conceived from sperm donated by a friend of Allison’s named Robert Frame.
In the case of a gay or lesbian couple adopting a child, or gay adoption, if the state does not legally recognize gay adoption proceedings or if non-biological parent has not adopted the child, how will they fare in the courts if relationship is dissolved?
The ruling judge, Gloria Sosa-Lintner, explained:
“Although . . . Altman is the biological parent, this does not give her an automatic priority over the adoptive parent. This is analogous to a father getting custody of his own child, where only the best interests of the child are paramount.”
Sosa-Lintner adds that Scollar:
“is indeed the more responsible parent looking out for the child’s best interests, not her own interests”
She further explained that:
“. . .Altman, who is a film producer, is the freer spirit, more outwardly creative and more laid-back parent,”
“During the course of this trial, the testimony has shown that she would miss therapy appointments or be late to school or camp bus because she overslept or felt that play dates were more important than therapy or that play dates should end late in the evening so that the child and she were too tired to commit to a schedule.”
In the case of this gay adoption, the judge was able to consider the parents, Scollar and Altman, as parents, not same-sex or lesbian parents, taking into consideration what each parent was bringing to the table. In the past, as in the case of heterosexual parents, sole custody would have been afforded to the father, or the parent making more money.
In this case, Allison Scollar was deemed the responsible parent, and she won the case.
Do the results of this parenting case lay the groundwork for parenting in the gay and lesbian community?
Will future parents in the GLBTQ community be able to feel a sense of security when fighting for their children in the legal system after a gay adoption?
What are your thoughts on the outcome of the case of Allison Scollar versus Brook Altman? How might this case fit into historical milestones observed during LGBT history month?