September 23, 2019

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A Positive Step Forward for Rachelle

3/11/2016

Rachelle Black filed for divorce from her husband after realizing that she is a lesbian. Shockingly, the trial court in her divorce case restricted Rachelle from discussing religion, homosexuality, or other "alternative lifestyle concepts" with her children, and from having her partner present without specific approval from the children's therapist.

 

The court also gave primary custody of the children to the father, despite the fact that Rachelle had been a stay-at-home mother for her children's entire lives.

 

We represented Rachelle in appealing this decision—not just to seek justice for Rachelle, but to make sure that what happened in her case never happens again in Washington.

 

We just received a decision from the Court of Appeals, and we won on several important issues. Among other things, the Court agreed with us that the trial court was wrong to restrict Rachelle's speech and conduct with her children, and to have given the children's father sole decision-making over their religious upbringing. However, we're disappointed that the lower court's decision to give primary custody to the father still stands.

 

So much has happened between when we filed this appeal and when we received the Court's decision: marriage equality swept the nation, courts cracked down on government officials refusing to sign marriage licenses, and the Supreme Court unanimously reversed a state's refusal to recognize a same-sex parent adoption.

 

But full equality has not yet been won.

 

We are seeking review by the Washington Supreme Court, and are hopeful that the Court will stand with Rachelle.

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