Homosexuality Not A Reason to Deny Child Custody

In Pulliam v. Smith, 348 N.C. 616, 501 S.E.2d 898 (1998), the North Carolina Supreme Court held that the homosexual parent is entitled to the same consideration as the heterosexual parent in decisions on custody and visitation. A parent’s homosexuality by itself should not be an issue unless it can be demonstrated that the child will be adversely affected if left in the custody or care of the homosexual parent.

However, Pulliam the supreme court seized on the fact that the homosexual parent was not married to his life partner in deciding to remove the child from the home. The court also noted that there were pictures of drag queens in the house and found these to be “admittedly improper sexual material in the home.” Other North Carolina appellate cases dealing with homosexuality and child custody include Spence v. Durham, 283 N.C. 671, 198 S.E.2d 537 (1973); Newsome v. Newsome, 42 N.C. App. 416, 256 S.E.2d 849 (1979); and Woodruff v. Woodruff, 44 N.C. App. 350, 260 S.E.2d 775 (1979).

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Angela McIlveen
CEO/Partner Attorney
Angela McIlveen is a founding Partner Attorney at the McIlveen Family Law Firm. As a partner at the McIlveen Law Firm, she handles cases in family law including child custody and support, divorce, alimony, adoption, separation, domestic violence and equitable distribution. She is often called upon to teach CLE classes to other attorney and to speak at events.

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