Judge Enforces ‘Morality Clause’ to Separate Lesbian Couple

Next time someone questions the necessity of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples, you can point them to this story.

Carolyn Compton is in a relationship with Page Price. They live together in Texas, as many unmarried couples do throughout the country. Compton has custody of children from a previous marriage. But after nearly three years together, a judge is forcing Page to move out.

Judge John Roach Jr., a Republican who presides over the 296th District Court, enforced the “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers on Tuesday, May 7. Under the clause, someone who has a “dating or intimate relationship” with the person or is not related “by blood or marriage” is not allowed after 9 p.m. when the children are present. Price was given 30 days to move out of the home because the children live with the couple.

Texas, if you’ll remember, is not one of the 12 U.S. states (plus DC) that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry.

So what this judge and the state of Texas are saying to gay men and lesbians is, hey, you can’t get married and if you have kids we’re going to make it super hard to live with your partner!

To add insult to injury, the Dallas Voice reports that Compton’s ex was charged with third-degree felony stalking, but pled guilty to misdemeanor criminal trespassing. Price added that the ex rarely sees the children. Sounds like a super great parent. But I guess that’s better than lesbians living together. Because GROSS.

But even if the everything in the immediately preceding paragraph is untrue, this situation is completely unfair. It’s impossible for Compton to marry her partner in Texas. By state constitutional amendment, no less. (Because you need to get your icky feelings codified in a document meant to preserve rights.) Texas has set up a system that forces gay men and lesbians to choose between their children and the person they want to spend their lives with. It’s just another example – as if we needed one – of why marriage equality is so important.


Photo: Lynn Friedman/flickr

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Roger Hawcroft
Roger Hawcroft2 years ago

Scott, you have raised what are valid components of many disputes of this sort and clearly have not just jumped from a basis of bigotry or prejudices, as have some others.

However, in this particular case, I have to agree with Allan. This case is very much about prejudice, poor understanding of sexuality, and misguided opinion (to put it as politely as I can) of those who are not heterosexual.

This case is about homophobia and discrimination resulting from it. Some of the points you have raised illustrate other aspects of the wider implications of this travesty of justness.

Allan Shuman
Allan Shuman2 years ago

Hey Scott: Thanks for your cogent point. It's well taken BUT I really think in this case (where they are known to be lesbians) & in this state (where they are not allowed by law to be married) where evangelical, fundamentalist Christians are in the majority & known to be very active politically, that this is a case of religious bigotry & bullying. History is replete with "god's will" being shoved down our throats by those that think they can "divine" what god wants & I respectfully submit that this is one of those shoves. Ouch!!

Scott haakon
Scott haakon2 years ago

This is not a "gay" issue. It is a issue about freedom of association. many divorced people who do not have custody do have feelings about their ex parading other sex partners around the children. Heterosexual anger caused this laws. Gays were not even on the radar
let's face it If you would be a non custodial parent and your ex has a partner,drives a good care lives off the child support and alimony while you get to see the kids whenever. Conversely if you were the custodial parent whose ambitions were crushed by the requirement that you and the children remain in the area to ease your ex's ability to inter act with the children. You would want to reach out and let your anger be felt.

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck2 years ago


Patricia H.
Patricia H.2 years ago


Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

This Judge is obviously inept+needs to retire to his summer home---permanently! What a buffoon.

Winn Adams
Winn Adams2 years ago

The judge is wrong and should be removed from the bench. Traffic court isn't good enough for this %^&*%*$*$.

Kandice B.
Kandice B.2 years ago

This is just ridiculous! How can anyone with a soul FORCE two people apart who are in love and have children together?! These people must not have a heart- or else a heart made of STONE! How can anyone choose between their partner and their children?!?! I feel deeply for these two women! How in the world would a judgement like this could even be brought against someone is just mind blowing! && People wonder WHY we NEED marriage equality! Those poor women! Those poor INNOCENT children!

Allan Shuman
Allan Shuman2 years ago

This is a direct result of right wing, bible thumping, religious fanatics forcing their god's (small g intended) edicts on us.They are not as bad as but have the same agenda as the Taliban in Afghanistan. To be a truly free country we need to make sure they do not get into a position of power (read - legislators, mayors, prosecutors, judges, school board members) over consenting adults as they do now. No More Religious Police Here!!

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago

not necessary