Saturday, 23 May 2009

Family Court case: when being gay or lesbian is irrelevant

In the last few days, my attention was drawn to a decision of the Family Court from last year, Wells and Roberts (No 2). This was a case concerning the care of children, and whether they should see their father in the UK. The father had not filed relevant documentation for the trial.

What struck me when I read the judgment was what it didn't say. This is the relevant passage from the judgment:

The mother lives in Sydney with her partner, Ms M, who is 55 years of age. The
mother and Ms M have been in a relationship since late 2003. Ms M has three
sons, aged 28, 26, and 24; two of whom live in Australia.

That's it. Nothing was said that the mother and Ms M were in a lesbian relationship. Nothing was said that was in any way critical of that relationship. Ms M only gained one further mention in the judgment, when she was described as the mother's witness.

What was particularly striking about this passage was that there was no issue about the sexual orientation of the mother and her partner, and the focus of the case was where it should have been - what was in the best interests of the children, without being hung up on preconceptions and prejudice.

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