Lambda Legal argues in an Ohio appeals court that the state’s antigay amendment cannot be used to deprive our client Therese Leach of a relationship with her 11-year-old son.
In 2001, Therese Leach and her partner Denise Fairchild filed for joint custody of their son in their home state of Ohio. Fairchild had given birth to the boy in 1996, and both women cared for the child.
But when the couple broke up, Fairchild tried to keep Leach from seeing their son. She argued that Ohio’s antigay constitutional amendment banning marriage between same-sex couples (passed in 2004) invalidated the parenting agreement. “Shared custody agreements have protected families – regardless of whether the parents are gay or not, married or unmarried – for 150 years,” says Lambda Legal Senior Staff Attorney Camilla Taylor.
Lambda Legal has already won two trial court victories on Leach’s behalf. Both times the court recognized that the amendment does not have any impact on relationships between adults and children; it applies only to marriage between adults. We are now fighting this case at an Ohio appeals court. We hope to reinforce that the antigay amendment cannot be used to deprive parents of custody and visitation with their children.
History of Fairchild v. Fairchild
- February 2005 Denise Fairchild moves to invalidate her agreement sharing custody of their son with Therese Leach, using antigay constitutional amendment as her justification.
- June 2006 Court of common pleas rules that custody agreement is valid and enforceable, despite antigay amendment.
- January 2007 Trial court upholds the magistrate’s ruling.
- March 2008 Lambda Legal defends Leach and her relationship with her 11-year-old son at Ohio’s Tenth District Court of Appeals.