The family of a lesbian mother jailed for contempt of court has asked local media to help it free the woman and return her two sons to Maryland.
Third District Judge Leslie Lewis Tuesday ordered a woman, identified as C.D., jailed for refusing to let her former lesbian partner visit with a child conceived while the two women lived together.Lewis ordered Gary, almost 5, and his older brother, Sky, 12, to stay with Angie Icaza, the former lesbian partner, while C.D. is in jail.
Gary, 5, is "upset, frightened and confused," according to his aunt, JoAnn Smith.
Lewis had ordered temporary visitation between Icaza and Gary in February. But C.D. moved to Maryland three days later. The April visit ordered by the judge didn't occur.
C.D., 28, who had returned for a court hearing Tuesday, acknowledged she had received copies of the court orders and understood what they required.
"I knew I needed to comply with it, but I also knew I needed to get on with my life," C.D. told Lewis.
Lewis held C.D. in contempt of court and ordered her jailed for 30 days.
"It's a very sad thing to me . . . when an individual fails to comply with a court order . . . because it indicates someone has put themselves above the law," Lewis said.
C.D. was stunned by the sentence, Smith said. "When she called me yesterday, she was pretty upset. She didn't expect this after coming back to Utah to try to right things."
Smith lashed out at Lewis for jailing the woman.
"It is obvious that Judge Lewis doesn't care about (Gary and his brother's) physical or emotional welfare. It is my opinion that Judge Lewis has put herself above the almighty creator in her effort to redefine the traditional family by forcing this `non-biological/ho- mosexual parent visitation rights.' " Smith said in a letter faxed to the Deseret News Wednesday.
"My sister is not a lesbian, no matter what it appears. She is a kind, trusting and vulnerable single parent who the legal sytsem has failed. She saved her money to return to Utah for a fair hearing and was punished for doing so.
"It is a shameful community that would sit back and watch their elected judge redefine the traditional family at my sister and her son's expense. We want the boys back home now," his aunt concluded.
Gary and his older brother, age 12, are staying with Angie Icaza while C.D. is in jail.
C.D. and Icaza, 43, lived together for eight years. In 1990, the two women agreed to have C.D. artificially inseminated. C.D. gave birth to Gary in 1990. Icaza was Gary's co-parent until the couple separated nearly two years ago, Lewis concluded last fall.
Icaza was present when the boy was born and for nearly four years interacted with him daily as a parent, Lewis ruled last fall. She helped feed, clothe and care for the boy as well as supporting him economically, the judge concluded.
C.D. will appear again before Lewis Thursday, and Lewis will ask her if she is now willing to comply with the court order.
Smith believes C.D. will comply. "She wouldn't have come back to Utah if she wasn't willing. She was willing to the first time. But Garrett was having asthma attacks the whole month of April. When he came back here, he was wetting the bed and sucking the binkie." " He has stopped both of those practices and the asthma has cleared up, she said.
Lewis has ordered C.D. to send Gary to visit Icaza in April. "It was ridiculous to send a little boy out there alone who was having asthma attacks as severe as he was having."
However, Icaza visited with Gary in Maryland in June for a week, Smith said.
If C.D. refuses to comply with Lewis' order, Gary will celebrate his fifth birthday this month without his mother.