children first

Arkansas Bans Gay Marriage, But The State Supreme Court Just OK’d Visitation Rights For Gay Ex

Great news from two states I’ve driven through in my lifetime: In Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick signed an executive order barring gender identity discrimination in the workplace. The order only protects state employees, not private workers, and was signed in a hush-hush manner (i.e. the bill signing wasn’t even on his public schedule, let alone made with any pomp and circumstance), but still: great news! And in Arkansas, the State Supreme Court upheld granted child visitation rights to Emily Jones, the now ex-girlfriend of biological mother Alician Bethany, even though the state recognizes neither same-sex marriage nor civil unions. In their ruling, justices said Jones, who acted as their daughter’s primary caregiver for the first 3.5 years, “stood in the capacity of a parent.” (NB: Last year the state’s ban on gay adoption was struck down as unconstitutional.)

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