Supporters of a Houston gay couple who plan to appeal an unusual custody ruling rallied at a courthouse Friday as a local judge signed his order in the case.
William Flowers (pictured, left) and Jim Evans (right) plan to appeal the order, which prevents Flowers’s children from his previous marriage from being alone with any man not related to them by blood or adoption unless his ex-wife consents — and this category includes Evans, his husband.
Harris County judge Charley Prine issued the order in June but gave his final signature to it Friday, Houston TV station KTRK reports. “The sounds of protest [against the order] were loud and clear on the steps of the civil courthouse in downtown Houston Friday morning,” according to the station, which also interviewed Flowers and Evans, who say the judge is punishing them for being gay.
“I believe he is biased and just not being fair,” said Flowers.
William and Lacey Flowers divorced in 2004, and they agreed that their three children should stay with her. William Flowers later changed his mind and sued for custody; a jury ruled that custody should remain with Lacey, but William could continue his regular visits — and this process led to the judge’s order.
William Flowers and Evans were married last March in Connecticut, which recognizes same-sex marriage; Texas does not. They told KTRK they have a “normal stepfamily life” with the children — Evans has two children from a previous marriage in addition to Flowers’s three. “In fact, it’s a very good stepfamily life,” Flowers added. They also said they believe Lacey Flowers will never give written permission for Evans to be alone with the children and that they will appeal Judge Prine’s order.