Monday, May 21, 2007

An Update On Emma

Back in April, I posted about a judge in Georgia, Judge John Lee Parrott, who, in his homophobia, removed a little girl from a stable, loving home. Here's a bit of the judge in action:

“We were pretty open about it and the lady who did the home evaluation was fine with it,” said Hadaway, who noted that the home evaluation found her suitable to adopt Emma Rose.

During a November hearing to finalize the adoption, Hadaway said Wilkinson County Superior Court Judge John Lee Parrott was originally supportive and encouraging of the adoption he was preparing to grant; however, once Parrott skimmed the home evaluation report, Hadaway said the judge’s mood shifted, and he began “acting really disgusted.”

“He started flipping through the home evaluation ... and his whole demeanor really changed at that point,” Hadaway said. “He took his glasses off, and he sat there and looked at the other side of the room, and he said, ‘Let me get this straight — you are in a homosexual relationship,’” Hadaway said of Parrott. ...

If the instant adoption is approved, inevitably the child will witness both directly and circumstantially the homosexual activity of [Hadaway] and her same-sex partner,” Parrott wrote.

Judge Parrott ordered Emma returned to her birth mother. Elizabeth Hadaway attempted to comply, but Emma's birth mother decided, at a truck stop, that Elizabeth needed to raise Emma. Judge Parrott then ruled Elizabeth in contempt of court and placed Emma in a foster home. Emma was forced to remain in foster care even after another judge ruled that she be returned to Elizabeth.

In a happy conclusion, Emma has returned home to Elizabeth Hadaway. A friend of the family sent me the press release below. Thankfully, I see a couple of LGBT news sites picked up the story. The release:

A Macon woman who lost custody of a 7-year-old girl three months ago because of her relationship with another woman was reunited with that child, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It took a long road and a lot of legal proceedings to bring this family back together and now they are hoping to focus on their family and not the court proceedings," said Gerry Weber, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia.

In February, Elizabeth Hadaway was ordered to turn the child, Emma Rose, over to the Department of Family and Children Services after a Wilkinson County judge denied her adoption of the child, and vacated a previous custody order. The child's birth mother signed over custody to Hadaway in a legal court proceeding.

In early April, a Bibb County judge returned legal custody to Hadaway but the order was not followed. Hadaway has said that Wilkinson County Sheriff's deputies told her she could not carry out the order.

Weber said that a deprivation proceeding was dismissed in juvenile court and that Hadaway and Emma were reunited Friday.
For more on this story, come back to or read Tuesday's Telegraph.
More from 365gay:
Nevertheless, the child remained in foster care, with the Division of Family and Children Services uncertain of which judge's ruling to follow.

DFCS agreed late last week that the biological mother's wishes should be honored, and little Emma was reunited with Hadaway.

"The law serves families best when focused on the needs of children, rather than the prejudices or assumptions of adults," said Gerry Weber, Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia.

"We're glad that DFCS agreed that it must honor the decision of the biological mother to allow Elizabeth to raise Emma," said Ken Choe, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's national Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project.

"Children like Emma shouldn't have to fear being torn away from their homes and families just because their parents are gay."

The contempt charge against Hadaway remains outstanding, however, and the ACLU will file a brief later this week seeking to have it overturned.

The above lines in bold are right on. Judge Parrot ripped a child from a caring, permanent home. It is this simple: Emma and Elizabeth Hadaway are victims of the judge's prejudices.

In my search for information about this case, I came across a conservative blogger and self-identified Christian from Georgia. He wrote that - well this is roughly what he wrote, I paraphrase because I'm not about to link or directly quote a bigot not already widely known - he usually disagrees with the homosexuals, but that here judge Parrott ruled unjustly and wasn't thinking of the child.

In the comments of the southern Christian blogger's post, someone doing their best to sound like a lawyer (or, frighteningly, an actual lawyer with too much time on its hands) came to the defense of homobigot Judge Parrott. In a nutshell, the "I'm not a lawyer, but I play one in the comments of this blog" commenter stated that Elizabeth Hadaway was trying to cheat the system and lost; the system worked and liberals were just trying to smear a decent judge.

I wonder how the commenter feels now that Emma has been returned home. Does he (of course it's a he) still feel like the system worked? I don't. I feel like the "system" let a judge, a supposedly levelheaded steward of the law, enforce homophobia and tear a family apart. My heart goes out to Emma and Elizabeth. I hope that the hurt inflicted heals quickly. I wish good things for their reunited family.