By Gudrun Schultz
LONDON, England, July 28, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Britain’s high court returned two sisters to their biological mother on Wednesday, removing them from the custody of their mother’s former lesbian partner, in a precedent-setting decision that emphasized the primacy of biological bonds between parent and child.
“A child should not be removed from the primary care of his or her biological parents without compelling reason,” Lord Nicholls said in the decision, the Guardian reported yesterday. The ruling overturned previous high court and appeals court decisions in the case, which had treated parental claims by the lesbian woman as equivalent to those of the children’s birth mother.
The judges in the decision accused the lower courts of being “distracted” by the circumstances of the case, and said the original decision was a departure from the normal legal principles governing custody battles between a birth parent and that parent’s partner.
“Mothers are special,” Lord Scott said in the ruling, saying the circumstances of the case did not come close to justifying the custody transfer that took the girls away from their mother last March.
The girls were born during the seven years that the women lived together. After the relationship ended, the birth mother attempted to restrict the children’s contact with the woman. The Guardian reported, however, that the birth mother had begun to comply with an order allowing the woman weekend visits, prior to the court’s decision to move the children, now aged seven and five.
That decision by the court was unduly influenced by the homosexual context of the custody battle, Lady Hale said.
“Had this been the usual case of a similar dispute between mother and father, I find it impossible to believe that a court would have contemplated changing the children’s primary home and schooling while contact was continuing in accordance with the court’s order,” said Lady Hale.
The decision to restore the children to their birth mother may set a precedent for future rulings in homosexual custody battles, removing any special consideration for the custody rights of a homosexual parent who is not biologically linked to the child.
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