Court Bars Divorced Mom’s 9-Year Partner from Staying Overnight When Kids are Home

I'm writing to tell you about a very important parenting case that is now in the Court of Appeals in Tennessee.  Here's the story.

Angel Chandler and Joseph Baker divorced ten years ago.  They had two children, a daughter, now 13 and a son, now 15.  They had joint custody and visitation with both children.  Ms. Chandler began seeing the woman who became her partner nine years ago, and Mr. Baker married the woman who is now his wife in 2003.

Earlier this year, Ms. Chandler and Mr. Baker went to family court to get approval for a modification of their parenting plan.  Following usual procedure, the court ordered an evaluation of both homes.  The evaluation said that Ms. Chandler's partner was a positive influence, and had a "parent-like" relationship with both of the children.

Nevertheless, the court put what Tennessee law calls a "paramour" restriction in its order approving the new parenting plan.  The order barred Ms. Chandler's partner from their home on any night when either of the children are there.  Since Ms. Chandler's daughter spends most of her time there, that meant that Ms. Chandler's partner had to move out of their home.

To maintain some semblance of their life but comply with this ridiculous order, Ms. Chandler quit her job, and she and her partner moved to North Carolina, where they could maintain two households.  Ms. Chandler's partner now sleeps in the second household whenever one of the children is present--which is most nights.

Ms. Chandler has a very clear constitutional right to raise her children as she thinks best.  And like the court-appointed expert, she thinks it would be best if her children could be in a home with both their mother and their mother's partner.  Ms. Chandler also has a very clear constitutional right to love and have a relationship with another adult.

The courts can't interfere with either of those rights without a very good reason, and there is no good reason here, where the court's own expert recommended that this family be left alone.

I wish I could say that this case was a quirk, but orders like these are not at all uncommon, particularly in the South.  Judges often deny that they are discriminatory, saying that they apply equally to unmarried gay people and unmarried heterosexuals.  In a state like Tennessee, which constitutionally bans marriage for same-sex couples, that would qualify as a bad joke if families weren't being broken up.  We hope to convince the Tennessee Court of Appeals to strike this order down, and give us the kind of strong decision we can use to start getting rid of similar orders throughout the region.

As always, I'll keep you posted.

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liberal hater

Being a proud conservative Tennessean all I can say is thank God we still have judges who follow and respect the Constitution. The American Criminal Liberties Union hates and mocks the south because we are patriotic citizens who love this country and it's Christian heritage.

By the way in 2006 we voted to ban gay marriage by an 81% to 19%.

A message to liberals--Don't mess with the south. Your left-wing, anti-American, anti-Christian garbage may work up north but not here.

liberal hater

Every one of you ACLU people are a bunch of goddamn hypocrits. Censor every conservative message and then turn around and say you support the 1st amendment.

Fuck all of you fag and dyke lovers. Fuck all you niggers loving son of a bitches. Fuck every goddamn immigrant who steps foot in my country illegally.

Anthony Romero is a fag. It seems that every worker at ACLU is either a fag, a dyke, a nigger or an illegal shitty immigrant.

I goddamn hate what your doing to my country. If you hate America so goddamn much then get your liberal, cock sucking, mother fucking sissy asses out of it. Your a bunch of cowardly pussies.


liberal hater, I'm a mom, married, traditional, old-fashioned, straight but absolutely not narrow. Neither are my Palin-loving family members. Feel free to say as you please, but your views are just more of the "equality for me but no equality for you" nonsense. You can call everyone in the world names if you want to, but if you vote to take away rights and liberties of your fellow Americans, then don't call yourself an American. People die for this country so that we can be free, and it is people like you who mock "patriotism." In fact, your ilk should move to Iran or some other country that espouses the same kind of "conservatism" and "patriotism" you do because that is really where you belong.

I don't like the fact that people like you live in my country, but you are free to live however and hate however you want to. Oh and by the way, please don't think you own the word "conservative" either. It is people like you who give conservatism a bad name.


Mr Liberal Hater.....your comments are SO christian! Hate? Anger? YOU BUCKWHEAT ARE THE HYPOCRIT!
It is you and your type that is helping to ruin this country!
So shut up and show respect! Oh...that's impossible because christians DON'T respect anyone! And for the record Mr Liberal hater the 10 Commandents Deut 5:6-21, verse 11 says: You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord Your God, for the Lord will NOT aquit anyone who misuses His Name.

I would hate to be in your shoes right now!

Christian Homosexual

What is Christ's new commandment? Love one another. Dude, you sould like someone God would condemn for being so narrow minded and hateful. I believe that God judges us at his will, and does not let puny people like yourself, liberal hater,do the judging. If I will be condemned in the afterlife for being gay, than so be it. At least I am living a life that considers all of God's creations/children to be precious. You need to go to a more fulfilling and meaningful church, because it sounds like were you go God is not loving and understanding, but wroth and vengeful. Which we learn from the New Testiment, he is not...neither God the Father nor God the Son.

Christian Homosexual

Now on topic...what are they afraid of? People are not raised to be gay...what does it matter if these two women who love each other raise children with each other? UGH it is distressing because one day more Partner and I intend on having children. We have our surrogates lined up and our egg donors too. We are going to wait for myself to get through one more year of college first though.

AND things of the devil= Hate, bigotry, racism, homophobia, sexism ect.

flaming liberal

Come on, "liberal hater"!! At least use proper grammar in your rants!

middle of the road

Ah yes, another southern gentleman showing his charm and intelligence.


What a heart-felt message of love and peace on Christmas Day. Talk about a hypocrite!


Nice representation of the South...


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