Yesterday the California 2nd District Court of Appeal issued a decision in LA County Department of Children and Family Services v. R.G., 2011 Westlaw 2206846 (not officially published), which sets out in some detail the kind of problems that some gay kids encounter due to the homophobia of their parents. The court of appeal affirmed the finding of the LA County Superior Court that it had jurisdiction under the child protection provisions of California law, based on the father's physical and psychological abuse of his gay son, but that the trial court went too far in its findings concerning the mother who, although complicit in terms of emotional harm and failure to protect, had not, in the court's view, acted in quite so extreme a way as concerns physical abuse. However, the court upheld the finding of psychological abuse and failure to protect in her case.
What really concerns me about the case is to get the facts out into the open. The identities of the parties are protected through the use of initials, but the court's designation of the case as unpublished and non-citable as precedent means that it may only be available to people with access to expensive legal research databases, so I wanted to reproduce the facts here on the internet where they may receive wider currency.
There is not sufficient documentation of the trials endured by gay kids available to the general public. Telling this kind of story is useful in attempting to persuade school boards and administrators that there is a serious problem to be addressed, and in persuading local law enforcement not to look the other way as gay kids are bullied by their parents or other oppressors. It is necessary to help explain to legislators why it is important to oppose the kind of harmful legislation that that has been proposed — and sometimes even enacted – in state legislatures for the purpose of keeping teenagers ignorant about homosexuality, and why school boards are actually acting against the best interests of their students when they try to suppress gay-straight alliances in the schools.
So here is the version of what happened as related by the court of appeal in summarizing the hearing record before the superior court: