News | Texas

Texas Judge Uses 'Morality Clause' to Divide Lesbian Couple, Gives Woman's Partner 30 Days to Move Out

A Texas judge is forcing a lesbian couple apart because he disagrees with their "lifestyle".

The Dallas Voice reports: Roach

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.

Price posted about the judge’s ruling on Facebook last week, writing that the judge placed the clause in the divorce papers because he didn’t like Compton’s “lifestyle.”

“Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home,” Price wrote.

Price also mentions that Compton’s ex-husband rarely sees their two children and was once charged with stalking Compton. She said he also hired a private investigator in order to bring the case before the judge. Court records show the ex-husband, Joshua Compton, was charged with third-degree felony stalking in 2011 but pleaded to a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing.

More at The Voice...

Think Progress adds: "Compton can appeal Price’s decision, but her appeal will be heard by the notoriously conservative Texas court system. Ultimately, the question of whether Compton’s relationship with Price is entitled to the same dignity accorded to any other loving couple could rest with the United States Supreme Court."

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  1. The lesbian couple can't get married in Texas, but a heterosexual couple in the same situation can get married ...

    This sounds like a good example of violating the equal protection clause if there every was one, and a good case to overturn the state's ban against marriage equality.

    Posted by: AdamTh | May 17, 2013 6:16:26 PM

  2. The judge is living up to his name: he's a true roach!!!!

    Posted by: matt | May 17, 2013 6:20:08 PM

  3. MOVE.

    Posted by: Brian Stroup | May 17, 2013 6:21:05 PM

  4. It;s TEX-ASS
    The maynfolks is always right
    The wimmenfolks don't get no chance, unless they have put away lots of jewelry to sell after the divorce.

    Posted by: Bob | May 17, 2013 6:24:15 PM

  5. Texas ultimately gave us a huge victory with Lawrence v Texas, we could be looking at an even larger victory with a Compton v Texas ruling - provided SCOTUS doesn't completely settle the marriage equality issue this year.

    Posted by: Chris&David | May 17, 2013 6:24:48 PM

  6. Well, an interesting legal case could arise if this couple goes on a short vacation to a state that allows same-sex marriages and ties the knot.

    The "morality clause" is apparently in a civil contract and may not say explicitly that the marriage has to be one recognized by the backward state of Texas.

    Posted by: Bill | May 17, 2013 6:27:11 PM

  7. It is unclear to me whether this is a standard claus in the divorce proceedings in TX or it was "added" by the judge. If the clause is standard in divorce proceedings (and just not enforced) there is probably little recourse. Even if the clause is usually ignored, the fact this it is present is probably the clincher. OTOH -- if this is just something the judge added at his own discretion, there is probably a good legal case, or there would be were this anywhere but TX. IMHO the judge would be hard-pressed to define a gay couple as de facto "immoral" in most courts, but, again, this is TX and what passes for knowledge and common-sense elsewhere is rare in TX.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | May 17, 2013 6:27:16 PM

  8. It's not easy for anyone to just move. Saying so is highly ignorant of people's circumstances.

    I'm saying this as a Houstonian. My partner's kids reside in a nearby suburb with their mom and step-dad. It's not exactly easy to just move away to a place where laws are more friendly for the sake of our relationship with the kids alone (on top of having stable careers).

    This case is just another reason why we need full marriage equality everywhere. It's also a clear example of who the real victims are in the marriage fight: Anti-gay Christians who don't want to serve gay people OR gay couples who are forced apart by crazy judges.

    Posted by: Evan C | May 17, 2013 6:29:52 PM

  9. Barbarians.

    Posted by: Tone | May 17, 2013 6:40:06 PM

  10. Houston, the largest city in the state, has an openly gay mayor running for her third term in office.

    This could happen in any state. This just sounds like an ugly divorce/child custody dispute to me.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | May 17, 2013 6:40:40 PM

  11. A republican roach? And in Tejas. Hard to imagine.

    Posted by: David | May 17, 2013 7:06:47 PM

  12. If that isn't a clear violation of Lawrence v Texas...

    But hardly unprecedented. In the late 90s a state (Kansas maybe, can't remember) removed custody of a lesbian's child in favor of her ex-husband who was a convicted murderer.
    In 2002, infamous Alabama theocrat Roy Moore wrote that the state has the right to execute gay people. The court as a whole also denied her custody although her ex-husband was abusive.

    Posted by: Steve | May 17, 2013 7:08:45 PM

  13. @Bill
    The Supreme Court already ruled that states can freely ignore any law from another state they don't like. Back in 1936. The Full Faith and Credit Clause only applies to court judgements.

    That's also one reason why they can't move now. Until this is resolved they are bound by the court ruling and moving would be seen as fleeing for something.

    Posted by: Steve | May 17, 2013 7:10:56 PM

  14. Wow! And After ALL These DECADES!
    Just Wow!
    Fight The POWER!

    Posted by: MoJo | May 17, 2013 7:11:44 PM

  15. This pig of a judge now threatens all LGBT families in Texas.

    Posted by: Francis | May 17, 2013 7:20:00 PM

  16. Think you are right Chris & David!

    Posted by: Mike | May 17, 2013 7:31:34 PM

  17. The clause is likely pretty standard, when a divorced parent has the kids living with them - my husband's divorce papers had a similar clause in them.

    The idea is to keep an endless string of tricks staying over with the parent while the kids are in residence. It's only because these women can't be married that this comes up in their circumstance. An out-of-state marriage might out a twist on it, because divorces ARE recognized between states even if marriages aren't - which might gum things up.

    I remember one couple that dealt with this while they were working it through the courts by parking a trailer in the yard and having the non-parent sleep there every night, since it wasn't "the house."

    Posted by: Lymis | May 17, 2013 7:56:14 PM

  18. Sounds like one of those activist judges that NOM and the rest of the swine are always crowing about.

    Posted by: BearlyBob | May 17, 2013 8:10:05 PM

  19. I would advise any gay person in Texas to seriously consider moving as soon as possible. Things are getting so bad with the Republican Reich there that it brings back memories of pre-Holocaust Germany.

    Posted by: Tyler | May 17, 2013 8:30:29 PM

  20. @Brian in Texas, this couldn't happen in any state. In states where gay couples can marry, the so-called morality clause wouldn't apply, and in my state I can guarantee that a judge wouldn't even attempt such a ruling. That's not to say there aren't pockets of tolerance in Texas, but this judgment would only fly in a state with anti-gay laws and where an anti-gay mindset is still acceptable.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 17, 2013 8:35:01 PM

  21. But of course,gays and lesbians are politically powerful right John Roberts?
    It's a given (as shown in New Mexico and New Jersey) that any state where Republicans are in control of any of the branches of government,gay rights simply won't happen.

    Posted by: Kevin | May 17, 2013 8:49:27 PM

  22. that morality clause needs to be challenged. seems likely it's unconstitutional.

    Posted by: DannyEastVillage | May 17, 2013 8:59:25 PM

  23. The judge is a closet case. Look at his face.

    Posted by: Kelly in AC | May 17, 2013 9:16:44 PM

  24. FWIW, Texas is actually predicted to turn blue in the next 8-16 years thanks to the influx in minorities. Hopefully it doesn't take that long for things to turn around, but there is hope :-).

    Posted by: friedpikmin | May 17, 2013 9:17:17 PM

  25. friedpikmin, that may be the case but something tells me that the Republicans of Texas will do a few underhanded things to make it harder for those people to vote.

    Posted by: macmantoo | May 17, 2013 9:46:56 PM

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