An Arkansas man was not allowed to have his same-sex partner stay overnight when his son was in the house. This was a decision handed down by a Pulaski County judge last year. The man, John Moix, has been living with his partner since 2007, and he divorced his wife in 2004.
Since last year’s decision, Moix has been fighting back against the courts, arguing that the judge’s decision violated his constitutional rights, “imposing a blanket restriction on unmarried couples living together,” LGBT Nation reports. The state does not approve unmarried cohabitation in general, but since Moix cannot legally marry his partner in the state of Arkansas, the situation quickly becomes muddled.
The decision was recently overturned by Arkansas Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling. In the ruling, the judges stated the following: “The public policy against romantic cohabitation is not a ‘blanket ban,’ as it may not override the primary consideration for the circuit court in such cases, which is determining what is in the best interest of the children involved.”
The court found that Moix’s partner was not an immediate threat to his child’s safety or welfare. Although the case seems as if it represents a homophobic approach to cohabitation, Moix was also under question about his ability to properly take care of his son because of his history of pain medication abuse, for which he sought treatment and has been sober for over 2 years.
According to the Arkansas Times, Moix received free legal help from a Little Rock attorney dedicated to LGBT rights. The lawyer, Jack Wagoner, posted the following comment on his Facebook page earlier this year: “If you’re gay and live in Pulaski County, Arkansas, go to the Circuit Clerk’s office and tell them you want a marriage license. If they won’t give you one, call me. You’ll have a free lawyer.” Moix contacted Wagoner, who helped the man overturn the judge’s previous decision.
Although LGBT individuals still do not have marriage rights, the ruling is viewed as a victory for same-sex partners throughout the state of Arkansas.