Montana judges smack down parental rights
Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 10/13/2009 6:00:00 AM
The Montana Supreme Court has granted parental rights to a non-parent.
For ten years, two women lived together in a lesbian relationship, during which one of them -- Barbara Maniaci -- solely adopted two children. But in 2006, Maniaci left her roommate and the homosexual lifestyle, and later married a man. Following the break-up, the former roommate sued for -- and now has won -- parental rights.
Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund, tells OneNewsNow that Montana's highest court decided to uphold the demands of a legal stranger.
"What the Montana Supreme Court did was give a third party -- the parent's former roommate and girlfriend -- parental rights...," says the attorney. "And it runs contrary to clear precedent dating back several years in Montana and the United States Supreme Court. [It's] a very, very disturbing decision."
FamilyHe says that historically courts have upheld the rights of "fit natural" parents. "When we undermine the rights of fit natural parents, it causes harm to families and children," argues Nimocks. "Giving strangers and third parties access to kids is not in the best interest of children or families."
In making the decision, Nimocks contends the court undermines the rights of parents to control the upbringing of their children and to make sure that their authority is the final authority.
One of the dissenting judges in Montana wrote that the decision in favor of a third party "will open a Pandora's Box of potential attacks upon the right of fit and capable parents to raise their own children."
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