Foster Care

West Virginia State Supreme Court sides with lesbian moms in custody case

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled Friday that a lesbian couple should have custody of an 18-month old foster child, overturning a judge’s order that the girl should be placed with a heterosexual couple who might adopt her.

The court barred enforcing and earlier ruling by Judge Paul Blake Jr. – which said that the girl should be taken away from Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess. The girl has remained in the couple’s custody throughout the court proceedings.

The Supreme Court noted there was no reason to believe the girl wasn’t thriving with Hess and Kutil, and said there was no legal reason to take her away from the couple.

“As a matter of fact, the court was never presented with any actual evaluation of the home or evidence of the quality of the relationship” the girl had with Kutil and Hess, the justices said. “All indications thus far are that (the girl) has formed a close emotional bond and nurturing relationship with her foster parents, which can not be trivialized or ignored.”

West Virginia state law doesn’t allow same-sex couples to adopt children, but single people can.