START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Feb 22, 2009
In Georgia, a child custody hearing has caused controversy when judges stipulated that a gay dad could only see his children with the condition that he refrain from “exposing his children to his homosexual partners and friends". The father in question, Eric Mongerson, has decided to contest the ruling and has taken his case to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Background on Eric Mongerson That Led to the Controversial Terms


In October 2008 a case was brought before County Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards which, on the face of it, seemed like a routine divorce proceeding and custody case. The couple in question were Eric Mongerson and his then wife Sandy Ehlers. The reason for the divorce was Mongerson’s infidelity and apparent homosexuality.

Through the course of the hearing, the court listened to testimony from Eric Mongerson’s eldest daughter that she had found a homoerotic magazine of her father’s which had men “doing things to each other”.  His then wife Sandy Ehlers also testified that her husband’s infidelity had meant that she had been forced to seek counseling for the children in order that they might recover from the emotional distress that was caused.

The Judge’s Conclusion on the Eric Mongerson Child Custody Case

Judge Edwards came back with a ruling containing a paramour clause, which said that “overnight company with a member of the opposite sex, or with any person deemed to be a paramour, unrelated by blood or marriage, in the presence of a child" was not to occur. This seems rather standard stuff, but Judge Edwards then chose to throw another mix into the cooking pot when he added:

“Additionally, [the] defendant is prohibited from exposing the children to his homosexual partners and friends.”

This ruling has drawn widespread criticism, with calls from gay rights groups that Judge Edwards has overstepped his bounds.

Reaction to the Eric Mongerson Custody Ruling

Pink News, an online UK based gay news publication, reported that Lambda Legal, a well known gay rights organization, had filed a petition on behalf of Mr. Mongerson, who had, in January, taken his case to the Supreme Court, and in that petition argues that, whilst, admittedly, the eldest child finding a questionable magazine was not an example of excellent parenting, contended that there was no reason to believe that exposure of the children to their father’s gay friends or lifestyle would, in fact, damage them at all, and that this addition to the paramour clause went too far and might even be interpreted as being homophobic.

Furthermore, the document went on to reiterate and expand this point when it said “that restrictions on custody arrangements should not be determined based on sexual orientation and that no evidence exists that contact with gay acquaintances of their father is harmful.”

Beth Litrell, a spokesperson for the southern office of Lambda Legal, said, "Placing a blanket ban on ‘exposure’ to gay people hardly helps a gay dad maintain his relationship with his children." Eric Mongerson has been given one-day-a-week visitation rights.

Litrell then said, “This order hinders Mr Mongerson’s ability to maintain his relationship with his children as he is under a court order to treat other gay people as pariahs based solely on their sexual orientation.”

It should be noted that the paramour clause can be circumvented should the parent and new lover get married. Obviously, this would be more difficult in Mr. Mongerson’s case as Georgia bans gay marriage and civil unions.
Visibility: Everyone
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted: Feb 22, 2009 5:00am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

Steve Williams
, 3
Bradford, United Kingdom
Shares by Type:
All (2618) | Blog (2618)

Showing shares tagged with: georgia [show all]
SHARES FROM STEVE'S NETWORK
Feb
13
(0 comments  |  discussions )
In a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council nineteen states opposed the approval of  GM Maize Pioneer 1507, developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemica l, while five supported it and four abstained from any view, EU officials sa...
Feb
11
(0 comments  |  discussions )
How to spread the news 02/11/14 This is really awfull, i did write many hosst announcements, but they dissapeared, luckely
Feb
1
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Message to the President, and to the Congress:It's very simple. We can aim for a UNIVERSAL Standard of $15 an hour Minimum Wage for ALL - that would be {frugally} a living wage these days. One should not have to be employed, and on government assistan...
Jan
26
(0 comments  |  discussions )
This is my Message that I send every week or so, to the President, my Representative, and my two Senators. {And in this instance, to the Vice President also.} The Majority of the people of this country, approve that the President {and Vice Presiden...
Jan
21
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Europe’s depressed carbon markets are to be given an automatic ‘market reserve’ facility allowing at least 100 million carbon allowances – or 12% of the market – to be withheld or released to buoy prices, according...
Jan
18
(0 comments  |  discussions )
I feel Care2 members should KNOW about the "work from home" ads, RECRUITING "MULES" TO CARRY OUT ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES. Just like the Drug Cartels do... A person who was recruited unwittingly by one of these ads, was given in a seattleweekly.com article ...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Every week or every other week, I send a Message to the President and to my Representative and Senators. This is the text of my latest: I have just sent the following message to President Obama; and I believe all Congresspersons need to hear it also...
Jan
12
(5 comments  |  discussions )
I shared 3 times the smae story with different types, so one of them would show up in my group Greenforever, but NOOOO, nothing is there, strangely enoough old shares come up, i am sure i shared much more the last months but in hostshares it ends 6 mo...
(0 comments  |  discussions )
If car sales were an Olympic sport, then China would take the gold medal. According to recent data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the country sold more than 20 million new cars domestically in 2013, a global sales record tha...
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
The satellite image below was taken on December 7, 2013 and shows smog stretching about 750 miles from Beijing to Shanghai. Clouds or fog are white in the image, while pollution appears as gray swirls, NASA explained. If car sales were an Olympic sp...