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Case seeking visitation rights for a gay father


In a 1996 ruling in the divorce of Robert Glenn Boswell and his wife, Kimberly, a Maryland court severely restricted Boswell’s visits with his two young children solely because he was gay. Boswell was not allowed overnight visits with his child, nor any visits in the presence of his partner or “anyone having homosexual tendencies.” In 1997, an appeals court found that these restrictions — which neither the children’s mother, the social worker assigned to the case, nor the children’s psychologist had requested-had been an abuse of court discretion. In 1998, Maryland’s highest court agreed, ruling that a parent’s sexual orientation alone is not a basis for determining the best interests of the children regarding custody and visitation.


This decision was part of a national trend in which courts began to move away from using antigay bias or stereotypes as a basis for visitation and custody judgments.

Lambda Legal’s Impact

Lambda Legal represented Boswell for both of his appeals, achieving an important victory for the rights of gay and lesbian parents in Maryland.

    • 1996 The divorce court severely limits Robert Glenn Boswell’s visits with his two children.
    • 1997 Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals reverses the lower court’s decision.
    • 1998 The Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, agrees with the Court of Special Appeals.