Eric Mongerson's kids couldn't meet his partner of two years, much less join the couple for ice cream. His friends couldn't cheer on the children at concerts or Little League games.
The divorced dad spent thousands of dollars fighting an unusual ban imposed by a county judge in 2007 that kept the three minors from having any contact with his gay friends or partners.
He felt unfairly scrutinized every moment he spent with the kids, though he never was looking to make a statement. He just wanted to spend a day with his kids and his partner, Jose Sanchez - together.
This Father's Day, he finally will.
The ban stemmed from the bitter divorce between Mongerson and his ex-wife, Sandy, who were married for almost 20 years and had four children. Mongerson said the marriage ended when his wife discovered he was gay in November 2005.
Fayette County Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards [awarded] Sandy custody of the children. The judge also issued a blanket order banning Eric Mongerson from "exposing the children to his homosexual partners and friends."
On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously agreed. Justice Robert Benham wrote in the scathing 10-page ruling that the trial court abused its discretion without evidence of harm to the children. He concluded it "flies in the face of our public policy that encourages divorced parents to participate in the raising of their children."
22 June 2009
From Fayette County, Georgia:
Posted by Wayne at 6/22/2009