Posts Tagged ‘children’

More Trouble In Utah

Below is an article I copied from the Salt Lake Tribune (see here), written by Rosemary Winters.   -Eric E.

Gena Edvalson tried for years to be a mom. So when her partner of six years, Jana Dickson, became pregnant through artificial insemination and gave birth to a boy in March 2006, nothing brought her “instantly more joy.”

And nothing brought Edvalson more pain than a recent court ruling depriving her of a chance to even visit the child.

After all, she had eyed every ultrasound. She had read Little Quack to “the little guy” when he was inside Dickson’s womb. She had clicked on a flashlight throughout his first night home from the hospital to check on the sleeping babe.

Both Salt Lake City women, were “mama” and — with the help of lactation medication for Edvalson — both breast-fed the newborn.

But the two split up when the boy was 17 months old and last week, after a yearlong legal fight, Edvalson was cut off from any contact with the 3-year-old she loves as a son. A 3rd District judge, citing a 2008 Utah law, upheld Dickson’s “fundamental” right, as the biological parent, to refuse visitation.

“I never want him to think I gave him up voluntarily. I never abandoned him,” Edvalson wrote on her blog. “I loved him, and I love him still.”

The case highlights the predicament of same-sex parents in Utah, a state where gay and lesbian couples cannot marry, adopt children or even expect their own contracts for shared parenting and guardianship to stand in court.

Such documents did not protect Edvalson, who signed

co-parenting and co-guardianship agreements with Dickson near the time the baby was born.Although this case is “not binding precedent,” Edvalson’s Salt Lake City attorney, Lauren Barros, said she wouldn’t recommend a co-parenting agreement to other same-sex couples.

“It was my last hope,” Barros said. It didn’t work.

Frank Mylar, Dickson’s attorney, said the “important principle” in the case is that the law upholds the “right of a parent to make decisions for their child and to change their mind.”

That, Mylar said, is precisely what Dickson did: change her mind.

Dickson and Edvalson met at the YWCA, where Dickson worked with teens and Edvalson with battered women. The couple moved in together in 2000 and formally declared their love with a commitment ceremony in 2003.

“Jana had kind of joked that she was old-fashioned like that,” Edvalson said. “She didn’t want to have a kid without making that official.”

Edvalson began artificial insemination. Two years later, she still wasn’t pregnant. Dickson, who is nine years younger than Edvalson, decided to give it a go. She became pregnant after her second treatment.

“We must have taken like 10 pregnancy tests,” Edvalson, now 42, recalled. “I can’t even describe it. I was so excited.”

After the boy’s birth, the couple planned to move to California so that Edvalson could adopt him, Dickson said, but, “due to major issues in our relationship, that never happened.”

When the boy was 4 months old, the pair had a fight. Edvalson moved out for a week.

“She told me that he wasn’t my kid, he was her kid, and she told me I should move on,” Edvalson said. “We worked it out for another year — but that never went away.”

Dickson and Edvalson broke up in 2007, when their son already was calling both of them “mama” (“Mama G” for Edvalson was a little too tricky).

Dickson, 33, now is married to a man, but said, in an e-mail, she has “dated both men and women” in her life. An attorney who defends parents in abuse, neglect and custody cases, Dickson said she is a “stronger believer than ever” in the right of lesbians to marry and adopt — if the biological mom wants her partner to do so.

She declined to comment specifically on why she has made the “very hard decision to limit Gena’s role” in her son’s life, noting Edvalson’s “palpable hostility” toward her complicated the visits. But she agreed the relationship “never really recovered from that initial move-out.”

While the couple still were together, Edvalson complained that her lack of “legally recognized rights” to the child created “unfair power dynamics” in the relationship, according to an affidavit Dickson filed.

For 10 months after the breakup, Edvalson generally saw the boy two days a week, but she felt Dickson was “whittling away” her time when the visits dropped to one afternoon a week. Edvalson asked her attorney to send Dickson a letter, requesting mediation to uphold the co-parenting agreement.

“Then Jana hired Frank Mylar,” Edvalson said, “and it was kind of game on.”

Mylar, a former Utah attorney general candidate, belongs to a conservative alliance of “Christian attorneys,” the Alliance Defense Fund, and regularly fights against the extension of rights for gay and lesbian couples. He did just that in pushing changes to the 2008 law that severely limited Edvalson’s ability to press for visitation in court.

Dickson declined mediation and stopped letting Edvalson visit the child. Edvalson did not see him for a year until — after a hearing in April — the judge ordered visitation once a week in advance of his ruling.

That decision came last week. The boy now is off-limits to her.

There is no next step in getting to see her boy again, Edvalson said. “The next step is [Dickson] doing the right thing. I have no legal recourse.”

Her advice for other same-sex couples: Don’t have kids unless you have the legal protection of an adoption (something you cannot get in Utah).

For now, Edvalson, who is working on a master’s degree in social work, is keeping an online journal to record her experience in case her one-time son someday notices the hyphenated last name on his birth certificate and has questions.

She cannot say enough about how sweet and outgoing he is — even “old men” at the grocery store, she said, would comment, “Your kid’s a flirt.” She calls him “my sweet boy.”

“I know everyone thinks their kid’s the greatest,” Edvalson said. “It just doesn’t help that mine actually was the greatest.”



The American Family Association is up in arms about an elementary school janitor in Massachusetts who is undergoing the transition process from male to female. Below is a copy of their latest article on the issue.

“A pro-family advocate says parents in one Massachusetts town were perplexed when they received a letter from the school district explaining changes the janitor made over the summer break.

At the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, parents at the Clara Barton Elementary School in Oxford, Massachusetts, received a letter from the principal and superintendent, informing them that one of the school custodians had “changed his gender role” and is now a woman.

The school officials then informed parents that if their children, whose ages range from five-to-ten years old, ask school employees any questions concerning the custodian, they believe that “the best thing to tell them is that our custodian used to be a man. She has changed her gender and is now a woman.”

Brian Camenker with MassResistance is appalled. “Whether parents like that idea or not, [the school] decided that they were going to introduce this to kids if there were any questions. That’s extremely outrageous,” he contends. “The whole idea that someone like this should be in the public schools, of course, is beyond belief.”

He says his organization was made aware of the situation when the uncle of a student gave him a copy of the letter. “From what I understand, everybody is afraid to speak out because they are afraid that their kids will be treated badly [and be subject to] retribution by the school officials,” he notes.

Camenker believes parents are also fearful of liberals in the community and finds it troubling there is a climate of fear against speaking out. He adds that on the reverse side of the letter, school officials listed radical homosexual websites in order for parents to get more information on “transgender issues.” “

I went digging deeper into this story but the farther you went, the more awful and sickening it became. This poor woman is just doing her job and yet people don’t even want her in the school! But I must say that I felt SOOO bad for these student’s parents feel some form of shame or guilt at raising their bigoted voices, and setting that example for their kids.

As for the school, 5 – extremely big – stars for speaking out in a very positive manner, that both made no apologies for their janitor, but also recognized the inevitable concerns of some parents. The original letter, including the list of “radical homosexual websites” can be found here.

“FAMILY” Groups attack Suicidal Gay Teens

suicideThe group “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays” released an article on Jan 6th saying that a recent study conducted by San Francisco State University on the link between gay teens who turn suicidal when parents reject them is just an attempt to promote “Gay Affirmation.”

“The way in which parents or guardians respond to a youth’s sexual orientation profoundly influences the child’s mental health as an adult,” say researchers at San Francisco State University, whose findings appear in Monday’s journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

However groups like “Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays” and the American Family Association are coming out swinging against this “attempted attack on parents.” Regina Griggs, Executive Director of Parents and Friends says, “..what we’re doing is we’re telling young people and we’re telling their parents, ‘You must accept those feelings. Who cares where they come from? It’s a gay lifestyle — endorse it!’ ….and [then] they threaten parents and frighten them by saying, ‘If you don’t, then your child may commit suicide!”

This is what I find so interesting, here is a credible study done on what can be the prevention of further teen suicides, depression and drug use, and these so-called “family” institutions are more concerned with making sure that parents “rehabilitate” their children rather than showing them love and accepting them for who they are.


For those who can’t recall anything other than California’s Prop 8, Arkansas also passed an anti-equal rights law on November 4th. Act 1, which passed overwhelmingly banned homosexuals in Arkansas from both adopting and fostering children. But already the Act is being legally challenged.

The Act was put together and spearheaded by the Conservative Family Council, who made no secret about the anti-homosexual intention of Act 1.

But now the lawsuit challenging the validity of the Act is coming from 29 adults and children, including many heterosexual parents. Meredith Scroggin said she and her husband, Benny, had designated in their will the custody and adoption rights of their two children to her cousin, who is gay and has a live-in partner. She added, “It is our parental right to decide what is in the best interest of our children and Act 1 infringes upon this right.”

Marie-Bernard Miller, attorney for the Arkansas ACLU is arguing in the case that Act 1 is violating the state’s duty to look out for the best interest of children, and is preventing the placement of children with loving responsible homes.

As we all know, the best way to convince a state to change something, it’s to show them how much money they are losing; and according to Arkansas’ Times Record, “The lawsuit argues Act 1 disregards the best interests of children, keeps children in state custody at additional and unnecessary costs to taxpayers, burdens private, consensual acts of sexual intimacy between adults with no corresponding benefit to children and discriminates against a group of adults willing to serve as foster or adoptive parents.”

What Would You Do?

I’ve been speaking with several people over the past month or so about the issue of Equal Rights and Gay Marriage, both through this weblog, and in other places. Being in Utah, I have of course found several people who disagree with my opinions, and the conversation has invariably come down to that they just don’t want their children being exposed to legalized Gay Marriage. For all those who have come to this conclusion, I would like to pose a question to you, please take some time to think about it, then post your reply. Love to you all!

“What would you do if one of your children came to you and told you that he/she was gay?”