A conservative businessman has been sentenced to three years in jail for helping a woman kidnap her biological child, flee the country and find new living arrangements overseas after she left a same-sex union and converted to a form of evangelical Christianity. Is it a case of “no good deed going unpunished,” as the defendant claims, or a deliberate act based on religious convictions? According to the court, it’s purposeful interference (and conspiracy to do the same) of a same-sex parent’s right to visitation and custody of her child, likely motivated by the man’s anti-gay beliefs. He has been an influential donor to right-wing religious groups in the past. The biological mother was in a same-sex relationship, legalized under civil union laws in Vermont, before she gave birth to the couple’s daughter. The child was conceived using donor sperm through artificial insemination, and the non-biological mother wasn’t listed on the birth certificate as a parent. After the couple split, the biological mother changed religions and became a self-proclaimed “ex gay.” She was represented in her efforts to deny the other mother’s visitation rights by Liberty Counsel, a law firm that often takes up anti-gay custody cases. This is a case they continuously lost. It eventually became clear that the court was about to strip the biological mother of primary custody and give it to the child’s other mother instead. That is not uncommon in custody cases where one parent refuses to follow the court’s orders and play by the rules.
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