Losing Lucy: A Study in Parental Alienation

Lucy Mullen was born to a lesbian couple. Her case illustrates a severe bias against fathers in the courtroom and indicates a problem that needs to be solved in our society: mothers are not the only parent whose responsibility is to raise a child.

Although courts will side with the mother 96% of the time - cases such as Lucy offer a window into how this bias can be distorted. Lucy's mom was , for all intents and purposes - married to a Woman named Michele - who for all intents and purposes was Lucy's dad. She raised the little girl from a very young age. Five years later, Lucy's mother decided that she no longer wishes to be married and she attempts to bar Michele from seeing her child.

The courts overwhelmingly decided in favor of the biological mother, and Michele has not seen Lucy since last december. In cases such as these, there is a very real alienation occurring - the child had a bond with Michele and despite the biological mothers lifestyle - be she straight or gay - that child deserves to experience the guidance and support of a father relationship with Michele. Children are very adaptable - she will understand the new role of a new person in her life - but there is no substitution for Michele. The courts see this differently.

The strange part of this story is that the biological father - a sperm donor - now has visitation with the child - and despite the fact Michele was there for the little one every day of her life and is unable to see the child at all. How can this be?

The answer is simple: the court does not recognize parental alienation as a problem- the biological mother is taking an emotionally abusive action against her former partner - in trying to barre the child from her life. Because the court does not recognize the harm that is being caused to the child, the court sides with the mother in all instances. It is a case of a zero sum game - Michele must lose in order that Bio-Mom must win. However, in real life this is not the case: the father and mother bear equal responsibility in raising children. However absent one parent may be - the imprint that the child seeks in order to become balanced as a person - is one in which the roles of father, and mother hold equal weight. If you don't believe this, watch children 'game' one parent against another. Anytime a decision is made they disagree with they will try to find the other parent and get the same decision from another angle. The two perspectives on life form a basis for the child -and two parents, working together (even if they have to use a secret decoder ring) help the child to understand their own emotions and to rationalize themselves.

And of course, also to explore their own identity. I deeply suspect, as a single dad - that the greater part of our sexual identity is a process of self discovery - it seems as though my children are growing up finding their own way in the world. I had a girlfriend when I was 9, and so does my son. They hide on the playground and make out. But my daughter seems to be doing her own thing - she is far more interested in horses than men. I am happy with that. Saves ammo.

Parents of Lesbian and Bisexual couples very commonly grow up to be stable, strong individuals - if anything perhaps even better than average. But at stake with Lucy is the simple question of whether or not a father is part of that equation - regardless of the orientation of the parents.

The California State Government is now considering a law that was rushed into production by those who seek to maintain the status quo such as above - AB 612, that will bar the mention of Parental Alienation in court. This type of action removes from the courtroom discussions that would resolve Lucy's case and restore the right of her common law father. The argument against being able to discuss parental alienation centers on concepts of abuse - where the father and mother are in an abusive relationship and the father would seek to impose his presence in the family despite harming the mother - preventing the mother from casting her children into a safe haven.

But a broader discussion of the issue may rest in the concept that she is "taking the kids and you'll never see them again" even if the father is innocent of wrongdoing. And this action hurts children like Lucy. Their parents may have had disagreement, and perhaps their breakup was justified - but to remove a parent from being able to see a child - and to exclude the concepts by which such presence could be justified - in this case, harms the child. Are Lesbian couples good families?

Perhaps they are. In order to find out, we have to have laws that treat people as equally in divorce as by which they would be married. Michele's rights as a Father are limited by the same form of bias that causes courts to side with the mother 96% of the time - a bias that in this case, removes from our society the chance to see what positive influence she would continue to bring to bear as a father figure despite her being biological female. It's not about being a man, its about being a father - thats what painted the courtroom target on her back.

Parental Alienation Disorder is at time of writing, under study and review. Barring mention of the concepts that surround it (the point of California Bill AB 612) - isn't the answer. The focus should be instead on the family - in this case a lesbian family - and the concept that a child sees the parent/child bond in a simple way. What do you tell Lucy when she is told she can no longer see Michele?

My litmus test of our legal system is simple: can you tell her the truth? If you can, then something is probably working right. I would guess that right now - Michele - Lucy's father - is being demonized - as perhaps a mother that might raise her child from age 2, to 13 can be demonized by her ex husband - a father that keeps his family together despite spousal abuse - can be demonized by her in public and in private, and many other men and women on either side of relationships that have been stressed beyond the point of natural reconciliation.

But overall. Please remember. Relationships are living things. If you can get it to the hospital, put it into the intensive care unit - and save it. Then do so. But if it dies. It's dead. And the action of a mother, in a lesbian couple - to attempt to remove the child's parent from her life is as artificial as the attempt to remove anyone from our own lives -

Those that we know leave an imprint upon us, and in like kind we leave an imprint upon them. This is our genius as a species. A species that for better or worse, has always supported broad diversity, creativity and an adaptability that has made us the pre-eminent life form on the planet. For now.

Here's the link to the article. I am not really sure of all the implications of AB 612 but I suspect that Lucy should get to see her Dad, Michele and I'm pretty sure that her Biological Mother is alienating her on purpose. I could be wrong on this. Who knows. Maybe Michele is an Axe Murderer. Or even worse maybe she's an artist. And that one looks jewish. And that one's a coon... who the hell let this riff raff into the room..?


Anonymous said…
Sounds all to familiar. Mad. Sad. Forgiveness.