No, you didn’t read that headline wrong. Judge John Roach Jr. of Collin County, Texas has ordered Page Price to move out of her house where she lives with her partner, Carolyn Compton, and Compton’s two children. Is that even legal, you may be wondering?
Technically, yes. Roach’s ruling calls upon a “morality clause” that Compton signed as a part of her divorce settlement two years ago. The clause states that anyone with a “dating or intimate relationship” with the parent, not related by blood or marriage, is not allowed in the house after 9pm when the children are present. Though neutral-seeming enough, many are accusing the ruling, and morality clauses in general, of particularly targeting LGBT families.This is made all the more insidious and problematic in a state like Texas where homosexual couples can’t even nullify morality clauses by getting married. Their only options? Split up, move to another state, or maintain a solely daytime relationship.
In response, Price and Compton are complying with the order while simultaneously launching a Facebook campaign to spread awareness around this issue and raise money for their appeal. Price writes:
Carolyn Lang Compton and I have been together almost three years and have a very happy and healthy home. Our children are all happy and well adjusted. By his enforcement, being that we cannot marry in this state, I have been ordered to move out of my home. Said Judge offered further information to our attorneys that if he could throw her in jail for being gay he would…
Judge Roach Jr. placed this “Morality Clause ” in their divorce papers with no end date at his will during their final divorce hearing stating that he did not like Carolyn’s “lifestyle”…
Now I realize there are those of you who don’t agree with my “lifestyle”, but the fact is that I wasn’t given a choice. I also know that those of you who know me know that I am a good person and would never hurt a child in any way. Tell me how this is just. Equal rights?
Price goes on to describe Compton’s tenuous relationship with her ex-husband, which involves him having been charged with 3rd degree felony stalking, hiring a private investigator to gather evidence for his case against them, and visiting his children just “12 times in 3 years.” The unsettling ruling may have uprooted the Price/Compton family environment, but it seems to have at least galvanized their efforts in the name of a cause for non-discrimination and equal rights. Price writes:
We didn’t want to be the face for this movement, but it looks like God has bigger plans for us. We will stand up and fight this for our family and hope that it helps pave the way for marriage equality in Texas! The support we’ve felt has been incredible and has given us the hope and strength to push forward and hopefully put an end to this type of discrimination. We are strong and we will get through this TOGETHER!
Morality clauses are a tricky subject, in general. The idea is that a court, company, or agency has the right to dictate people’s behavior and lifestyle choices for the sake of propriety, children’s well-being, brand image, etc. But when “morality” presents such a hazy, variable standard for living, does the court have any right to legislate it?
What do you think? Do morality clauses seem acceptable to you, and, if so, what kinds of lifestyle habits should or shouldn’t be regulated? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!