"THIS CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO THE LOVE AND SUPPORT OF BOTH MOTHERS."
(Chicago, February 2, 2011)—Today the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in Lambda Legal's case defending Michele Hobbs, a lesbian mother who was denied access to her child when she and her former partner, the biological mother, ended their relationship.
"This child has the right to the love and support of both mothers," said Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney for Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "Long-established Ohio law protects the relationships that children have with people that they know as their parents. This case is no different. This child has always known Michele Hobbs as 'Momma.' The law does not permit Ms. Mullen to sever their relationship."
Michele Hobbs and Kelly Mullen were in a committed relationship for five years and decided to have a child together. When their relationship ended, Mullen, the biological mother, denied Hobbs any contact with her daughter. A motion by Hobbs for joint custody was granted by a magistrate judge, overturned by a juvenile court, and an appellate court upheld the reversal. In May 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court accepted the case for review.
Recently, in a strikingly similar Lambda Legal case, In re S.J.L. and J.K.L., the Ohio Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision to protect the children's bonded relationship to both mothers.
"I just want this to be over and to be with my daughter," said Michelle Hobbs. "I want to honor the promise I made to always love and care for her."
Christopher Clark, Senior Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office is handling the case for Lambda Legal. He is joined by Lisa T. Meeks with Newman & Meeks based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Watch video of oral arguments.
More information on In the Matter of L.K.M.
Contact: Erik Roldan; 312-663-4413 x359; firstname.lastname@example.org
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.