Wow, twice in a row for my home state! What an honor, what a privilidge! This time the Arkansas Court of Appeals wins the Asshat of the Day Award! From the Arkansas Times:
"A lawyer calls attention to a Court of Appeals decision this week not to rehear an earlier ruling upholding a change of custody of a two-year-old from his mother to his father."
Why is this so alarming? Again quoting from the Arkansas Times:
"The Court of Appeals' original decision affirming the change of custody noted that the trial judge was influenced by the mother's statement that she followed Wicca (emphasis mine)-- although she later said it was just a casual remark and that she really was a Baptist. The opinion cited Judge Robert Vittitow's concern about care of the child, but also said:
"Finally, he stated his concern over her testimony regarding the Wicca religion, stating she probably was more involved in it than she led the court to believe."
Judges Robert Gladwin, David Glover, Wendell Griffen and Pryce Marshall formed the all-male majority in favor of the mother losing custody. Judges Jo Hart and Sarah Heffley formed the all-female dissent.
(Note for Judge Vittitow and the Court of Appeals: Wicca is a belief based on nature. At least one soldier killed in the Iraq war is buried under a Wiccan headstone at Arlingotn National Cemetery with a symbol like the one inserted here. Just because it's OK for the Army and its fighting men does not, of course, mean it's acceptable to Arkansas jurists.)
The mother asked for a rehearing. It was denied yesterday without comment, except a stinging dissent from Judge Hart, who still believes a religious prejudice -- irrelevant to the law -- was the contributing factor in Vittitow's decision. "
That's right folks, religious bigotry is alive and well. Not only is this a travesty of justice, but it is just plain ignorant. Of course what can I expect from a state that would rather have children grow up in orphanages and group homes to save them from "gay cooties". My hope is that the ACLU and the Wiccan Antidefamation League get involved to help pull us into the 21st Century...
You can read the full story at http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2008/11/wicca_and_custody.aspx#comments