Alabama Judge Restores Lesbian Mother’s Visitation Rights

The Southern Poverty Law Center called the ruling "a first in Alabama". The group has just finished representing Chelsea Hughes in Mobile County court. Hughes separated from her then-husband after following him to Mobile from Seattle, due to a military transfer. Once the couple separated, her ex-husband denied her access to her four children, due to the fact that she had chosen to be with a woman after the divorce. She subsequently enlisted the help of SPLC, and filed for visitation rights. Unfortunately, as was noted by the group, gay parents (who are just as, if not more, competent at raising families than straight parents) face an uphill battle when filing for visitation rights in Alabama:

"A circuit judge approved favorable visitation rights in a July 25 order. Although similar rulings may have occurred in Alabama where such orders are not widely published, this appears to be the first time an Alabama trial court has approved standard visitation rights for an avowedly lesbian or gay parent. Overnight restrictions – sometimes referred to as 'paramour' restrictions – especially burden same-sex parents who are still prohibited from marriage in Alabama."

Senior staff attorney Sam Wolfe hailed the ruling as a groundbreaking victory:

"This sets the right precedent for LGBT parents – and any unmarried parent in Alabama because LGBT people and unmarried parents have just as much right to their children as heterosexual couples…Parents should never have to choose between their children and an unmarried partner. LGBT parents have faced serious mistreatment in Alabama and it has got to stop."

Luckily, last week's ruling marks a step in the right direction. 


  1. northalabama says

    yes, change is possible, even if slow, in alabama. there may yet be hope for us…

  2. Torrey says

    This is a great article so that 1) people know that there is still discrimination and 2) we are making progress on equality.

    This is the first article of yours that I have read; although, I have subbed and watch two of yours and Will’s yt channels. I’d love to (inserting plug for me here lol) do a collab with you guys. Check out my youtube channel at torreyinwi. :)

  3. Jared Barron says

    The information that I have suggests this was a court approved settlement, not an opinion of the court. I would like to see the court docs themselves.

  4. Jared Barron says

    I hope I am mistaken, but it seems that this is not the legal opinion of the court. Rather, it seems to be a consent judgment entered pursuant to a settlement agreement. I’m not sure what went into the decision to settle, but some outlets are also reporting that the mother and her wife have separated. It is plausible that this prompted the father to settle, at least in part. Still, I don’t mean to sully good news, and my information could be in error.

  5. Jared Barron says

    I do live in Alabama (for most of the year). Greater Birmingham is reasonably gay friendly (non-binding city council resolution in support of LGBT equality, very gay friendly neighborhoods, large progressive base), but there are patches of the state that are something of a “No Man’s Land” for the LGBTQI. As a matter of tactics, the best places to file a lawsuit where sexual orientation is at issue would be Jefferson County, Madison County, or Mobile County. The fact that this comes out of Mobile does not surprise me at all.