Out Lesbian & Native American Loses Virginia Custody Case
Equality Virginia was made aware of a Virginia child custody case last month after it appeared on Huffington Post. The HuffPost article alleged that justice in the ruling was being denied to the Sylina Buehne because she is an out lesbian and openly practices her Native American heritage. From HuffPost:
For the last eight years Sylina has been locked in a pitched battle with her ex-husband for custody of their three children. She is well-educated and gainfully employed, and despite having drained $500,000 of her personal net worth to engage in this fight, she can support her family. She has submitted to every alcohol and drug test, no matter how invasive, as well as a battery of psychological tests and financial reviews. Not one shred of evidence has been revealed to challenge Sylina's fitness as a parent. Nevertheless, she is denied her children simply because she is openly gay and dares to practice the spirituality of her Native American heritage.Buehne has since moved out of state and EV learned from someone close to the family that she lost the case. From e-mail:
Her husband retains primary physical custody. She can see her kids some weekends and holidays, as is the case now... The anti-gay and religiously intolerant content that was allowed in court was truly astounding.Chesapeake Circuit Court Judge Randall Smith made the ruling. Our contact says the husband's attorney, Michele McCracken, was vehement about homosexuality being "against God's law" and Native American spirituality being "anti-Christian." Unfortunately even in 2012, being a gay or lesbian can still be used legally and openly against someone in custody and divorce proceedings and depending on the judge, can potential hold leverage on the ruling. While Equality Virginia does not have the capacity to comment on individual cases or provide legal guidance, we do encourage our membership to refer to our Legal Resources page for LGBT-friendly attorneys and share stories through our Tell It program so we can continue to educate the public.