August 22, 1996 in Nation/World

Judge Denies Lesbian’s Visits With Son In Lover’s Presence

Associated Press
 

A lesbian who lost custody of her 5-year-old son can visit with the boy at her home as long as her live-in lover is not around, a judge ruled Wednesday. The lover is not even allowed to talk to the boy.

“I don’t understand how anybody can tell someone they can’t speak to someone else. It breaks my heart,” said Sharon Bottoms, the boy’s mother.

Bottoms’ lover, April Wade, called the judge “prejudiced, homophobic and downright hateful.”

Bottoms, 26, abandoned a bitter three-year custody fight against her own mother last week and asked Circuit Judge Buford Parsons for expanded visitation rights instead.

The boy, Tyler Doustou, lives with his grandmother, Kay Bottoms, but will be allowed to visit his mother at her home every other weekend, on two holidays and for a week in the summer, under Parsons’ ruling.

Previously, Bottoms could meet with Tyler on Mondays and Tuesdays at neutral sites only. She could not bring him to the apartment she shares with Wade, although Wade could talk to the boy over the telephone.

Under the new visitation rules, Wade will have to leave her own apartment during visits.

Kay Bottoms is pleased with the ruling, said Richard R. Ryder, her attorney.

” All of the courts with the exception of the Court of Appeals have refused to allow any contact with April Wade,” he said. “This way Tyler’s visits will take place in surroundings where only his mother is there.”

Banning all contact between Wade and the boy shows prejudice is still evident, said Kent Willis, director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents Bottoms.

Bottoms and the boy’s father are divorced and he has not been involved in his upbringing.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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