Gay couple to fight judge's child custody ruling

September 9, 2011 4:28:20 PM PDT
A local gay couple is planning to appeal a judge's ruling in a child custody case because they say the judge is homophobic and preventing them from having a normal family life. We sat down with William Flowers and his husband, Jim Evans, after the judge signed the order on Friday to talk about what it means for them.

The sounds of protest were loud and clear on the steps of the civil courthouse in downtown Houston Friday morning. It was a protest against a child possession order signed by Judge Charley Prine of the 309th Court.

"He knows I'm homosexual. He's knows I'm married to a man and he knew that there'd be times my children may be alone with Jim if I have to run out to work," Flowers said.

Flowers divorced his ex-wife, Lacey Flowers, in 2004.

"We were married for about six or seven years when I told her I was gay and when I knew I was gay. We stayed married for another five years," he said.

And he says, their relationship has been difficult ever since he filed for divorce. He married Evans, a divorcee with two kids, in Connecticut last March. That's a state where gay marriage is legal.

"It's a family life. It's just a normal stepfamily life," Evans said.

"In fact, it's a very good stepfamily life," Flowers added.

Their marriage is not recognized in Texas. And when Flowers tried to get full custody of his three kids - a 14-year-old boy and twin 9-year-old girls - a jury decided against him.

But Flowers and Evans did not expect this. The judge then ordered that Flowers could never leave his kids without anyone they are not related to "by blood or adoption," it says, without Lacey Flowers' consent.

"She will never give written permission for me to be with the kids," Flowers said.

When we called to ask the judge why, we were told judges don't comment on cases. A phone call to Lacey Flowers was not returned.

Flowers and Evans say the judge is just punishing them for being gay.

"I believe he is biased and just not being fair," Flowers said.

And for Flowers and Evans, they say their only recourse now is to appeal to a higher court.


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