Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund will argue to an Illinois state appeals court that a divorced mother in Washington, Ill., should not lose custody of her two children due to a lower court judge's fear the children might one day be subjected to "social condemnation" beause their mother is in a relationship with another woman.
Oral argument in the case, Scrhoeder v. Schroeder, is scheduled before the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa, Illinois, on Thursday, October 3, at 2:30 p.m.
"Parenthood is not a popularity contest," said Patricia M. Logue, managing attorney for Lambda's Midwest Regional Office, who will argue the appeal for the mother. Noting that the lower court's ruling has dangerous ramifications for any gay or socially unpopular parents, Logue added, "Everyone in this case agreed that these children have been thriving for years in the care of their mother. They should not be uprooted based on hypothetical fears."
The two young children have lived all their lives with their mother, Rebecca Schroeder. But last January 31, a Tazewell County circuit court judge ordered custody changed to the father, Stuart Schroeder, stating possible negative social ramifications from the mother's relationship with another woman, who lives with the mother and children in their suburban home outside Peoria, Illinois. A three-judge state appellate panel is expected to rule in the case by the end of the year.