Family Law Judge Enforces 'Morality Clause' In Custody Case
The judge in a family law case in Texas has ordered that a same-sex couple can't live together under the same roof as one of the partner's daughters, ages 10 and 13, citing a "morality clause" in the original divorce papers with her ex-husband.
Josh Voorhees for Slate reports that the ex-husband sought to have the morality clause enforced in regard to re-opened child custody proceedings. Essentially, the case presented his ex-wife with two options: continue living with her partner, without her kids, or have her partner move out.
The morality clause directed that no one (whether straight or gay, presumably) could be in the house at the same time as the children after nine at night. This meant, essentially, that a significant other couldn't stay overnight or move in - unless, of course, they were married.
For now, the couple are said to be following the judge's order, but are looking into their legal options. But it's quite unclear what those options might be, since marriage is not an option for same-sex couples in Texas, as it is in other states like Maryland.
Voorhees quotes one part of the judge's argument, wherein the morality clause is meant to be for the children's best interests, and is a "general provision." But Voorhees makes a good point: "[I]t's obvious that the provision affects homosexuals differently than it does their straight counterparts..."