Divorcee and mother of two Angel Chandler has approached the Tennessee Court of Appeals to allow her to have her female partner stay overnight.
Ms Chandler, who has been with her partner for almost a decade, is appealing against a child custody restriction known as a paramour clause, in which she is not permitted to have her lover stay overnight if her children are present.
Ms Chandler claims that Chancellor George Elliss of the 28th Judicial District in West Tennessee imposed the restriction, despite this not having been requested by the children’s father.
Her appeal also claims there has been no assessment of whether Ms Chandler’s relationship with her partner could harm her children in any way.
Her partner has moved to another residence.
Ms Chandler told the Associated Press: “This decision has been disruptive to our family.
“We lived together in a stable, functioning family, and this was rather shocking to all of us.
“This is about the person we choose to be with.
“The judge decided to interfere, and it’s had a very negative affect in our lives.”
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) spokesman Paul Cates said that paramour clauses such as these often affect gay and lesbian parents because same-sex civil unions are not permitted in the state.
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, said:
“Unfortunately, this case is an all-too-familiar example of how unfairly lesbian and gay parents are treated in custody and visitation proceedings.
“All the children’s health and welfare organizations have long recognized that lesbian and gay parents are just as capable of being good parents as straight couples, and their children are just as well adjusted.
“We’re hopeful the Tennessee courts will come to that realization, too.”
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