Here’s another appalling case of a judge using a divorce or custody agreement to punish someone just for being gay. A Texas judge is ordering a mother’s lesbian partner to move out of the home they share because of a morality clause that he inserted into the woman’s divorce decree.
Page Price and Carolyn Compton have been together for almost three years, but a Collin County judge is forcing them apart.
Judge John Roach Jr., a Republican who presides over the 296th District Court, enforced the “morality clause” in Compton’s divorce papers on Tuesday, May 7. Under the clause, someone who has a “dating or intimate relationship” with the person or is not related “by blood or marriage” is not allowed after 9 p.m. when the children are present. Price was given 30 days to move out of the home because the children live with the couple.
Price posted about the judge’s ruling on Facebook last week, writing that the judge placed the clause in the divorce papers because he didn’t like Compton’s “lifestyle.”
“Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home,” Price wrote…
Ken Upton Jr., senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal’s Dallas office, said he is familiar with the case. He said morality clauses are rarely enforced and were historically used to prevent unmarried people from cohabitating with children present. Courts often include the clauses without people knowing, especially in conservative areas like Collin County, he said.
Gay couples are unfairly targeted under the clause because they can’t legally marry in Texas, Upton said.
So, an ex who is upset that his marriage ended because his wife was gay could use it against her later.
“What the clause has become is an extra burden on gay people because they’re no more likely to violate it than straight people,” he said. “It’s a problem that continues with homophobia.”
The couple is going to appeal. Let’s hope this is overturned.