Quote# 66837

For ten years, two women lived together in a lesbian relationship, during which one of them -- Barbara Maniaci -- solely adopted two children. But in 2006, Maniaci left her roommate and the homosexual lifestyle, and later married a man. Following the break-up, the former roommate sued for -- and now has won -- parental rights.

Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, tells OneNewsNow that Montana's highest court decided to uphold the demands of a legal stranger.

"What the Montana Supreme Court did was give a third party -- the parent's former roommate and girlfriend -- parental rights...," says the attorney. "And it runs contrary to clear precedent dating back several years in Montana and the United States Supreme Court. [It's] a very, very disturbing decision."

He says that historically courts have upheld the rights of "fit natural" parents. "When we undermine the rights of fit natural parents, it causes harm to families and children," argues Nimocks. "Giving strangers and third parties access to kids is not in the best interest of children or families."

Austin Nimocks, OneNewsNow 28 Comments [10/27/2009 3:13:47 PM]
Fundie Index: 16

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Admit it, Austin. You're just pissed because she's a lesbian, and you don't really care about the kids. Just admit it. You'll feel better.

10/27/2009 3:17:58 PM

Caustic Gnostic

Not knowing anything else about the case, I would think the kids don't have a problem with the arrangement.

10/27/2009 3:26:15 PM


Parental rights aren't granted solely to biological parents, but to the primary caretakers of the children.

10/27/2009 3:28:41 PM

Doctor Whom

Ever hear of Sharon Bottoms?

10/27/2009 4:05:34 PM

So let me put this into non-fundie-think:

Two women were raising children together. The relationship broke down after a decade and one of them, who was bi, subsequently entered a new relationship with a man. There was a custody battle over the children which the other mother won.

... why is this even an issue again?

10/27/2009 4:57:33 PM

Old Viking

Would you explain that again?

10/27/2009 5:53:08 PM


"But in 2006, Maniaci left her roommate and the homosexual lifestyle, and later married a man."

You fundies just CANNOT get your heads around the concept of "bisexuality", can you?!

10/27/2009 6:13:49 PM

Tom S. Fox

How is she a "stranger" and a "third party"?

10/27/2009 6:18:05 PM


Why is this an issue to anyone?

10/27/2009 10:09:14 PM


This is going to get amusing.

10/28/2009 12:35:34 AM

If she adopted them, explain to me where "nature" enters in the picture.

10/28/2009 6:14:43 AM

Deep Search

Pfft. She wasn't a "roommate" she was a parent to those children. Obviously she was the one who would best care for the children. Asshats...

10/28/2009 7:32:34 AM


Is this really true?

The fact that the woman's name is Maniac-i is just too cliché.

10/28/2009 7:43:55 AM


How would this have played out differently if the two cohabiting partners in a non-married sexual relationship had been of different genders?

10/28/2009 7:53:03 AM

Doubting Thomas

Not knowing all the facts in the case, I really can't say if this was a good decision or not. From what it sounds like, though, is that they were in a committed relationship and decided to adopt children together, but only one was allowed to adopt due to rules against homosexuals adopting children. But being in a relationship for 10 years with children involved is more than just "being roommates." Things like this could easily be cleared up if homosexuals had the right to marry.

10/28/2009 12:32:12 PM


I'll have to agree with several posters above: what's really disturbing is the fact that after 10 years of relationship her partner is still considered a "stranger".

10/28/2009 2:24:30 PM

Dr. Novakaine

Hey, ever hired a babysitter? You've just given a third party access to kids. It's not about that, it's about the fact that she prefers women.

10/28/2009 3:08:59 PM


Whoa, this happened in my state!? Freakin AWESOME!

10/28/2009 11:32:43 PM


Didn't it say she adopted the kids? So what's all this 'natural parent' shit?

10/29/2009 5:37:20 AM


Uh, if she adopted the kids rather than gave birth to them, she's not a 'natural parent'. Neither of those women is the biological parent of the children in question.

10/29/2009 6:26:55 AM


Honestly, I can kind of see what this one is about, and I can see the problem with it. It's about someone with no legal rights to the children, and no legal connection to the children (not the adoptive, biological, or otherwise parent) being given parental rights. Child custody and parental rights cases are a nightmare in general without adding third parties to the mix. I know a large number of lawyers who refuse to take divorce cases or cases dealing with children and parents rights in general because they don't want to deal with working out the custody arrangements. Seriously, this opens the door to a number of issues. In a divorce situation with roommates involved, I know this is leaning towards a slippery slope a bit, but bear with me. You've got mother and father to the children, mother and father split up, then you've got mother's and father's new roommate, not even a relationship, but someone to help with the bills. What this case does, is open it up that when mother and father get remarried to stepmom and stepdad, you've now got the children being pulled in too many directions at once. Mother's and father's roommate are, according to this case, now eligible for parental rights as well, now having not only mother, father, stepmother, and stepfather fighting over the children in case of additional divorce, but mother's and father's roommates added to the mix as well. Maybe I'm sliding down the slippery slope here, but honestly I see this just adding more nightmare to the already difficult family court system.

10/29/2009 10:01:19 AM


All of the comments about the roommate being considered a stranger. It's not that she's considered a stranger, so much as she legally, on paper, has no relationship to the children, making her a legal stranger. Basically, from the sound of this, though I may be wrong, it looks like the mother who adopted didn't put in place any safeguards to ensure that her partner would have at least partial rights to the children first, which had that been the case I would be right along side the rest of you, but if there was no establishment of rights at all, nothing put on paper at all, I can see getting outraged that the partner was given parental rights to the children.

10/29/2009 10:04:53 AM


Yes, yes, I see your reasoning. "If the Adopting parent's partner of ten years can claim parental rights, then a total stranger can do the same to my kids."
I just don't find your reasoning persuasive, is all.

11/1/2009 5:45:48 AM


The partner (please, Equalist, stop referring to her as a 'roommate' - it's obvious she was more than that) spent ten years raising those children. There were clearly no legal options for her to be provided with; as many have said, legalising gay marriage would change that.

The problem is, when Maniaci got married, her husband became the stranger. He is the alleged roommate. He did not raise those children for a decade. He was not there when they were adopted. He's the damn stranger.

The courts ruled in favour of the partner, rather than the other mother and the new stepdad. This woman was not a stranger. She's presumably the best choice to raise the children. It's not all about who is written down on a legal document; it's about what's best for the kids.

The only thing this story proves is that partners in gay relationships should be given legal parental rights to match the other's. There is nothing here about strangers or roommates, other than what FundieNewsNow has oh so unbiasedly claimed.

And, to sum up: the only third party in this case is Maniaci's husband.

Mother's and father's roommate are, according to this case, now eligible for parental rights as well

The woman awarded custody raised those kids equally for a decade. She is not a fucking roommate. She is a parent.

11/1/2009 7:18:33 AM


Not to mention, the law shouldn't provide just "what's on paper" but the social and emotional bonds the children actually have. These bonds link them to the woman who helped raise them for 10 years, not to someone who's just signed a contract for sex with their other parent.

11/1/2009 3:04:26 PM

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