Collin County Judge Invokes "Morality Clause" to Split Up Lesbian Couple

JohnRoachJr.jpg
Judge John Roach Jr.
A while back, before his father retired as district attorney against a backdrop of small-town political intrigue, Collin County District Judge John Roach Jr. described his philosophy on family law in a less-than-hard-hitting interview with Dallas Child.

His "obvious passion spill[ing] over in precise speech honed by years in the courtroom," he spoke of the importance of ensuring that children in custody cases wind up in a strong family environment with loving, involved parents.

"I often tell people I would not want them to make decisions about my kids -- why would you want me to make decisions about yours?" he said. "It is certainly my job to make these decisions; I make the decisions when I have to. However, parents going through divorce need to agree to disagree as to why, how or whose fault it is and focus on the kids. Your spouse may make a sorry husband or wife, but it does not mean you have to be sorry parents."

Roach wasn't asked in the interview, nor did he volunteer, how he views same-sex relationships. The Dallas Voice gives us a hint:

Page Price and Carolyn Compton have been together for almost three years, but a Collin County judge is forcing them apart.

Judge John Roach Jr., a Republican who presides over the 296th District Court, enforced the "morality clause" in Compton's divorce papers on Tuesday, May 7. Under the clause, someone who has a "dating or intimate relationship" with the person or is not related "by blood or marriage" is not allowed after 9 p.m. when the children are present. Price was given 30 days to move out of the home because the children live with the couple.

None of this would be an issue if Price and Compton were married, but this is Texas, where gay marriage is explicitly barred by the state constitution.

See also
In the Collin County Courthouse, Due Process has a Funny Way of Expressing Itself: Payback, Personal Vendettas and Overzealous Prosecutions

Right now, we don't have a lot of context for the decision. When we contacted him Tuesday, Compton's attorney promised to issue a statement later in the week. He said this morning to expect it later today. For the moment, we'll have to rely on Price's assertion in a Facebook post forwarded to us last week that she and Compton have been together for three years and "have a very happy and healthy home" and that the children "are all happy and well adjusted."

Gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal is already watching the case closely. Ken Upton Jr., the organization's senior attorney in Dallas, told the Voice that Roach's decision would likely be overturned on appeal if it's true that Price and Compton have a stable relationship. He predicted the case could end up setting a precedent for how morality clauses are handled when it comes to same-sex couples.

Update on May 20: Compton and Price's attorneys, Barrett Stern and Michael Dement, released their statement today. They write that Compton's family court hearing earlier this month before was a partial victory, since Judge Roach refused her former husband's request to have her held in contempt, jailed, and fined for each of 181 alleged
violations of the morality clause.


We are disappointed, however, that the Court decided to clarify the morality clause in an attempt to make it enforceable. The Court ordered Ms. Compton to comply with the clarification within 30 days. This has the effect of kicking Ms. Price, Ms. Compton's partner of more than two years, out of the home they share. Ms. Compton and Ms. Price plan to comply with the Courts clarification order, even though it will be disruptive to their family and has the potential of being harmful to the children.

The new language anticipated by the court is no less problematic and we believe it to be unconstitutional under right to privacy cases, parental right cases, and the United States Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence v. Texas. We believe a sweeping permanent injunction like the one entered here cannot be justified in light of today's law. We believe that a so-called "morality" clause, like the one the court intends to enter, is a burden on parents, regardless of their sexual orientation, that takes away and unreasonably limits their ability to make parental decisions of whom their children may be around and unreasonably limits what the United State Supreme Court has identified as the liberty of thought, belief, and expression.

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91 comments
santeeastco
santeeastco

Why do people that see an opinion that differs from their acceptance of all thing gay or homosexual call it "homophobia"? Do you really think that people are afraid of gay men and lesbians? Come on, get real, what is happening is that you are finding places where people will not bow down to the LGBT political agenda and you're trying to intimidate them into silence. 

The LGBT has already admitted this so called quest for "equal" rights by getting judges to force states to accept, what is nothing more than "pretend to be normal"  relationships, by calling them a marriage  (the only way gay marriage can exist), has NOTHING to do with equality or marriage. Society recognized marriage between  a man and a woman as a way to help civilize itself and protect their children and future generations. 

This organization is on a mission to destroy traditional ANYTHING ( marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, parental rights, education, even the Boy Scouts are targeted) in order to create chaos and decay, so that two men or two women saying they are "married" looks normal.   Can't wait until I get that "wedding" invitation from the guy down the street - after he pops the question to his goat! 

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

lisa, go to hell, your an imbecile.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

lisa, go to hell, your an imbecile.

halldecker
halldecker

Isn't Roach Jr. (and Sr.) members of a political party that promises to get Big Government out of our lives?

rain392
rain392

This is just one of the many reasons I strongly dislike living in Texas. Being surrounded by bigots and racists and biased judicial folks and neighbors who are all three is very hard on my soul

BarackObummer
BarackObummer

Yo Rarely iz da queshun asked: what’s iz our chil'ns learning?

BarackObummer
BarackObummer

As long as Sandra Fluke gets her free birth control pills what difference does it make?

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

It really doesn't matter what the bigger picture is when it comes to gay and lesbian issues in Dallas.  No matter what is it, the thought is clearly anti-gay and most of the comments are AGAINST the issue.

YET no one is homophobic.  So this has become a city of closet homophobes.  Why not just come out of your homophobic closet, cop to being a bigot and stand up.  Be proud of those new white sheets. 

YET, if you do some research, you will find that no one screws up their kids like religious fanatics.

Guest
Guest

Things are getting mischaracterized here in the comments that can be clarified by reviewing the court records.  First, the "morality clause" was not agreed but was entered as part of the parent's divorce decree after a contested trial.

Second, the father is seeking to enforce by contempt, through jail time and fines, the prohibition against overnight guests.  In otherwords he is asking the trial judge to throw the mother of his children in jail.  He sought 6 months jail time for each violation to run consecutively and alleged over 180 violations.  

Third, the "morality" clause was drafted so poorly that it actually expired as soon as the divorce decree was entered between the mother and father and by its terms prevents mom from having an overnight guest that is romantically involved with DAD, not with her.   The judge did not dismiss the case even though the order is blatantly unenforceable. This isn't a technicality -- it is what the prior court order actually says.

So the judge not only sought to impose his personal views of morality on the mother in a way that is not imposed on the father, he also is ignoring the terms of the prior order and seeking to, in a very backdoor way, enforce a court order that by its own terms is not enforceable. 

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

lesbian muff snuffing and child rearing are incompatible

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

A moratorium on homosexual marriage discussions now !

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

This isn't about gay rights; it's about contract law.  She signed a contract.

Bonnie Hughes
Bonnie Hughes

He is a joke I have a friend Marion wilson sr that knows just how sorry the roaches is jr's here Dad had ca case that he caused a 3 year old girl and her brother 7 get molested again. He knew thet the mom's mom dady and 2 of her sisterd was on probathion for molesting them when the girl was 2m0. old and the boy was 5. they got 2 years for it the firsst time and the same thing when they done it again. they was in court all the time trying to get his dad to do something but it finaly took a jury trial to change it with the judge had no sayso in it they took the mothers rights and it still haunts the family till this day so now the son is doing the same thing I know this needs to be over turned. qiich

Americano
Americano

So far I have yet to see a comment that asks, "what's in the best interest of the children?".  I'm divorced, and my ex and I have had relationships with other people, but neither of us has allowed someone to spend the night.  It would be confusing for our child and puts our needs above his.  I know the pro-gay lobby likes to jump on these cases and characterize the Judge as a Neanderthal, but that isn't really the point.  Unless you put your political views above what is best for the kids.

Guest
Guest

For those saying that the judge had no choice but to enforce the clause and force the girlfriend to move out, not true.  The clause forbid someone who has a dating or intimate relationship with the mother from spending the night.  The Texas constitution says marriage "shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman," and the "state may not . . . recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage."  An intimate or dating relationship is a relationship similar to marriage.  Since these two people are both women, and not a man and a woman, I do not see how the judge, an agent of the State of Texas, can legally recognize them as in an intimate relationship since the constitution says the state shall not do so.

Chris Allison
Chris Allison

I don't think the government should be regulating marriage anyway. It's a religious rite not a civil right. Leave marriage and divorce to religion where it originated. What's next: Government Baptism?

fedupvoter
fedupvoter

Is this ass clown up for re-election anytime soon?

Charles McGarry
Charles McGarry

He's trying to get Perry to appoint him to a vacancy on the court of appeals, so the further right-wing batshit crazy he goes, the better his chances.

Tamara Wood Broom
Tamara Wood Broom

I call discrimination, cut and dried. Who knows the details about the Father, who most likely would not have his female "partner" ordered to leave, whether the court order says so or not.

Karen Habbestad
Karen Habbestad

Oh for Pete's sake. Can't people just mind their own business and leave people alone? Surely his own closet needs more looking into instead of sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. Cripes. In the immoratal words of The Beatles just "Let it Be".

Bill Hamel
Bill Hamel

My gadar went in to overdrive as soon as I saw this guy's pic.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I'm really getting sick of this shit.

Roach is divinely named.

casiepierce
casiepierce

The ex husband is being petty and vindictive. He's got a felony stalking charge, he doesn't see his kids regularly or participate in their lives, and he hired a PI to dig up dirt on the two. The couple has lived together for three years, so why wait until now to invoke this stupid clause? Eric, why don;t you post some of the facebook post?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@halldecker 

No, it's only considered "Big G" if they try to interfere with bankers and businessmen.

Messing with homosexuals is just doing what's right in the eyes of the loooooooord!

DirtyP1
DirtyP1

@rain392 Well then move? Idk what to tell you but if I felt the way that you did, enough that you'd post in a forum, then move. 

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

@rain392  Tough ! Move to California, plenty of fruits though Blacks are leaving big time. Hooray !

 

Americano
Americano

@rain392  

I love living in Texas and I am neither a bigot or a racist.  I abhor bigotry, even when it comes wrapped in darker shades and alternative lifestyles.  The question here is "what's best for the kids?", not "who should be sleeping with who?".

coreylynxx
coreylynxx

@rufuslevin Mind your business then. These ladies can raise their children to be good people and you'd probably teach kids to be bullies who do nothing but cause problems in society.

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

A moratorium on Heterosexual drivers.............discussion NOW.

Guest
Guest

@bvckvs - No it isn't.  The Decree being enforced was not an agreed decree, but was entered after a trial.  So the "morality clause" the judge is trying to enforce was imposed by the judge after a trial and not in any way a contract or agreed.

PILawyer
PILawyer

Why would it e confusing. Tell the kid the truth -- Mom (or Dad) is having an overnight guest, sleepover, whatever phrase is age appropriate. How is that confusing at all?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

@Guest An intimate or dating relationship is a relationship similar to marriage.  WHO SAYS SO...THAT IS TOTAL BS.  LIKE A DOG IS SIMILAR TO A CAT..THEY BOTH HAVE FUR AND BREATH...BUT THEY DO NOT BREED TOGETHER.

casiepierce
casiepierce

@Guest That is an interesting point. The state recognizes a same-sex couple as having an "intimate relationship" when it suits the state? How does anyone else else know what they are doing in the bedroom, since that seems to be the criteria for which being gay is based. As far as the state is concerned, they are just friends. Unless I missed something. Does the "morality clause" actually say no overnight guests at all?  If that's the case, then maybe Texas' 'morality clause' needs an overhaul.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Dang livefyre, double posting again.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Guest  Did you read the actual clause in the actual divorce in question?  They're not all alike.  From the information available in the article regarding the morality clause, the judge was right, you're wrong.

"Under the clause, someone who has a "dating or intimate relationship" with the person or is not related "by blood or marriage" is not allowed after 9 p.m. when the children are present." 

 Notice, it says ''...OR is not related...." not AND.  Both parts of the clause are exclusionary on their own.

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

@casiepierce that is why the judge wants the KIDS protected, because the "adults" are totally screwed up.  ALL OF THEM.

ObserverBob
ObserverBob

@casiepierce Ah yes, the old "two wrongs make a right" defense - dad is a bad actor so mom can simply ignore the Order of the court. What mom should have done is appeal the "no unrelated overnight visitors" clause (which is remarkably common in Texas divorce decrees) back when it was entered (in 2011 per the court's public records listing). Now mom's friends are screaming because the judge enforced the court order? What was the judge supposed to do, say this is the game where the rules are made up and court orders don't matter? That only works on game shows, not courts of law. 

Americano
Americano

@PILawyer Children aren't adults.  I'm referring to pre-teens here.  They are confused and hurt when their parents split up.  Adding other people to the mix only makes it worse.  Only a Lawyer wouldn't be able to grasp that simple concept. 

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

dear lord, please open your heart and let this child of yours and bless her with her grades in 8th grade math.  she has such a tough time with addition and subtraction. 

please lord help her to get into the 9th grade so she can understand the law.  as it will be in her future.

Americano
Americano

@DirtyP1 @_mm_ @cam.chel89 

What the article says is not important.  Getting the Gay agenda talking points into the conversation is all that counts.  I guess I should start injecting Christian talking points into unrelated stories to try to even the scales.

Americano
Americano

@_mm_ @cam.chel89 

Are you sure about that?  I said I was a teenager when my Mother remarried.  She had offers before that but thought we were too young to deal with that.  I encourage Gay people to get married if they want, I can't wait to see those divorces!

_mm_
_mm_

@Americano @cam.chel89 But that's exactly the point... this couple WOULD be married if they were allowed to marry.

Americano
Americano

@cam.chel89

The experience is different for everyone.  My Dad was the loser my Mom divorced when I was 3.  As a child I longed for the "whole family", but my Mom never had a man over until she married again when I was in my teens.  It was painful enough without overnight guests, and kids deserve better.  

cam.chel89
cam.chel89

@AmericanoYou know, as a kid of a nasty divorce (I was seven), I really could care less who my mother was with since she's the one who wanted the divorce in the first place. It didn't ruin my life, make me sad, or hurt me. She had a family, but the only family she was interested in was alcohol and men. Cutting her out of my life was the best thing my father ever did.

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