Ohio Mother Loses Custody Of Child Due To Marriage Inequality Amendment

An Ohio appeals court ruled that a lesbian mom who had previously been granted access to the daughter she and her former partner had are now void. Their reasoning: her former partner who was the biological mom is now married to a man who has adopted the child and, due to a 2004 state constitutional amendment, the non-biological parents is legally a “non-relative.”

Pink News reports that a lower court ruled previously that Maggie Gross was entitled to access the seven-year-old biological daughter of her former partner, Jennifer Herrick. But the Franklin County Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, determining that because Herrick’s new husband adopted the child, all previous relationships are now null and void. The court said, according to the report, “because the adoption is meant to provide a new family for the child, it in effect severs: ‘legal relationships with non-relatives, such as [Ms Gross], who attempt to base their claims on relationships in existence prior to the adoption.’”

Gross told the Columbus Dispatch that this ruling essentially erases half of her daughter’s life.

They’re saying that half of all this never happened, that half of her life didn’t exist,” Gross said of the 7-year-old girl, who was almost 3 when Gross and Herrick ended their relationship in 2008. “That defies logic.”


While this ruling may be a correct application of Ohio law, it illustrates the harm the state’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment does to same-sex families. An opposite sex-couple would never be in this situation. Because the state treated Gross and Herrick as legally unrelated, this seven year old will no longer be able to regularly see one of her parents, who is now legally a “non-relative” because of Ohio’s discriminatory law.

A repeal effort may be on the ballot in Ohio as soon as November 2013.