Life Issues / Family Ethics Political Action Committee of Southwest Washington

Gerry Alexander

2006 Washington State Supreme Court Candidate

Position 8

Anti-Family Judicial Decisions

Candidate's Website 58% Judicial Forum Score Constitutional Law PAC Info
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Justice Alexander's Anti Family Decision Regarding Parenthood

Supreme Court of the State of Washington

Opinion Information Sheet

Full opinion at:

Docket Number:       75626-1
Title of Case:       In re the Parentage of: L.B.;
                     Sue Ellen ("Mian") Carvin v. Page Britain
File Date:           11/03/2005
Oral Argument Date:  02/15/2005

                                SOURCE OF APPEAL
Appeal from Superior Court,
            Honorable Michael J Trickey

Authored by Bobbe J Bridge
Concurring: Barbara A. Madsen
            Charles W. Johnson
            Gerry L Alexander
            Susan Owens
            Tom Chambers
            Mary Fairhurst
Dissenting: James Johnson
            Richard B. Sanders

Lesbian’s Ex-Partner Declared “De-Facto Parent” by Washington State Court
Mother now married to child’s biological father must give previous lesbian partner access


By Terry Vanderheyden

OLYMPIA, Washington, November 4, 2005 ( – A Washington State Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that the former lesbian partner of a child’s biological mother can be considered the “de facto parent” of the ten-year-old girl the mother conceived by artificial insemination. The girl’s mother, Page Britain, is now married to the girl’s biological father after separating from her lesbian lover.

Sue Ellen Carvin sued Britain in 2002 after she was denied visitation of the girl conceived in 1995. Chief Justice Bobbe J. Bridge, writing for the majority, said that “in the face of advancing technologies and evolving notions of what comprises a family unit, this case causes us to confront the manner in which our state . . . defines the terms ‘parents’ and ‘families.’” The ruling, approved by seven of nine Supreme Court judges, means that Carvin can now sue for custody and visitation rights.

“Imagine the Pandora's box that opens,” said one of Britain’s attorneys, Erica Krikorian, according to an AP report. “Anytime somebody comes along and cohabitates – in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship – all of a sudden, add water and you’re creating these rights. You have to be careful who you're letting your kids hang out with.” Britain’s attorneys are recommending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Britain’s co-counsel, Brian Krikorian, said, “This decision puts every single parent on notice: Anytime you allow another adult to assist in raising your child, you could potentially be giving that person 50-percent authority over your child.”

Justice James Johnson, dissenting from the majority opinion, condemned the court for its “judicial decree” that brought in a new method for determining who a child’s parent is. “Regardless of the various sexual orientation claims, the outcome must be that a mother has a fundamental right to make decisions for her child,” he stated. “The majority’s ruling fails to provide any protection for Britain's fundamental constitutional right as a fit mother to make decisions concerning the upbringing of her own daughter. Worse, in my view, the majority here looks beyond a detailed and complete statutory scheme adopted by the Washington Legislature and creates by judicial decree a new method for determining parentage.”

Rev. Joseph Fuiten, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Network, a Washington group campaigning against legalization of same-sex “marriage,” condemned the ruling. “They’ve changed the definition of parents today; they'll change the definition of marriage tomorrow. Who do these people think they are?”


Justice Alexander's Anti Family Decision Regarding Definition of Dependents

Judicial Forum Case Reviews

Heinsma v Vancouver :: 144 Wn2d 556

Category: Family Law and Marriage

This case questions the legality of using Taxpayers' money to extend benefits to city employees for their partners who are not their legal spouse or children.

In 1998 the City of Vancouver began offering benefits to its city employees’ domestic partners and domestic partners' children. Under this program they could receive health insurance benefits and use their sick leave to care for their domestic partners or for their domestic partners children.

Full Report at:

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the City of Vancouver's benefit program does not violate article XI, section 11 of the state constitution. Heinsma has failed to show that the legislature intended to preempt the city from defining "dependents" as including domestic partners. Similarly, Heinsma has failed to show that the city's inclusion of domestic partners conflicts with the requirements of RCW 41.04.180. Because the regulation of employee benefits is a matter of local concern, we recognize that cities should have great latitude in implementing their employee benefits programs, especially when they have received specific delegated authority from the legislature. Finally, we conclude that the city's recognition of domestic partnership is limited and that the program does not unconstitutionally interfere with the legislature's ability to regulate familial relationships on a statewide level

We affirm the decision of the trial court. ALEXANDER, C.J., SMITH, JOHNSON, MADSEN, IRELAND, BRIDGE, and CHAMBERS, JJ., concur.

SANDERS, J., dissenting.

Full State Supreme Court decision at:


Constitutional Law PAC on Alexander: Poor Judicial Philosophy

The CLPAC is a bi-partisan committee formed to work for the election of judges who believe in judicial restraint.

Full report at: