We’ve made such enormous progress in the fight for LGBT equality. But our work is far from over. Even in states like Washington, where we have won long and hard-fought battles for legal protections, LGBT people continue to face discrimination in employment, in health care, in housing – and in our family court system.
That’s why Legal Voice is representing Rachelle Black. She and her husband had three children, and Rachelle was a stay-at-home mother for 15 years. Several years ago, Rachelle realized she is a lesbian and filed for divorce in Pierce County, Washington.
The court-appointed guardian ad litem assigned to the case issued a report that was highly critical of Rachelle’s “lifestyle choice” and recommended giving the father primary custody of the children, which the trial court heeded. Additionally the court prohibited Rachelle from discussing homosexuality, religion, or “other alternative lifestyle concepts” with her children or from allowing her partner to have any contact with the children, unless such discussions or contact were specifically authorized by the children’s counselor.
Legal Voice is representing Rachelle in appealing this decision. We are pleased to report that the Washington Court of Appeals granted our motion to stay on the restrictions on Rachelle’s speech and conduct while our appeal is pending. We are currently briefing the appeal and preparing for oral arguments later this year.
Special thanks to the outstanding attorneys at Perkins Coie for serving as Legal Voice’s cooperating counsel in Rachelle’s case.