A judge in Collin County, Texas, cited a "morality clause" when he told a lesbian mother that she cannot cohabitate with her partner of three years and maintain custody of her children.
Page Price and Carolyn Compton have lived together for nearly three years, the couple told the Dallas Voice. But District Judge John Roach Jr. decided to enforce a "morality clause" in Compton's divorce papers which stipulates that anyone not related "by blood or marriage" may not be in Compton's home after 9 p.m. when the children are present.
Because Compton and Price cannot legally marry in Texas, the judge's order effectively removes Price from the home, the couple claim. The judge gave Price 30 days to move out, since the children currently live in the home with both women.
"Our children are all happy and well-adjusted," Price wrote on a Facebook post announcing the decision. "By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home."
Compton's divorce from her ex-husband was finalized in 2011, though the case was reopened in April following a custody dispute, reports the Voice.
Price believes the inclusion of the "morality clause" in Compton's initial divorce paperwork was prompted by the judge's disapproval of Comton's "lifestyle." Price also notes that Compton's ex-husband rarely sees his two children, and in 2011 was charged with stalking his ex-wife.
A senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal's Dallas office told the Voice morality clauses are seldom enforced, but sometimes inserted into divorce paperwork without the consent or knowledge of the parties involve.
"What the clause has become is an extra burden on gay people because they're no more likely to violate it than straight people," Ken Upton, Jr. told the Voice. "It's a problem that continues with homophobia."
But Upton also said the lesbian couple could appeal the ruling, and because they've already established a safe, healthy home with the children, they might stand a chance of winning, even in their conservative county.