Paper mommies and friendly lawsuits

Gay and lesbian parents must create a legal patchwork to protect their children. Luckily, studies say, the kids are all right.

Kelly Rimer plays outside with her sons.
Alex Maness
Additional Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

One mother takes the children to day care. The other picks them up, gives them a snack, and starts dinner. Toy dinosaurs crowd the living room table. The younger child draws with sidewalk chalk on the front porch in the early evening, looking up at his parents with big brown eyes. The older one rides a new bike with training wheels. He beams with a mischievous smile, his thick hair sticking out from his helmet. As the sun goes down, the moms push the two boys on the swings of a play set, then walk behind them down the sidewalk as the boys scan the sidewalk for bugs to examine. When it's time for bed, both moms read bedtime stories and tuck the boys in.

That's the lifestyle Cathy Surles and Kelly Rimer lead. Their world centers around their sons, ages 2 and 3, their two dogs and their full-time jobs. Rimer is an environmental researcher and has worked for the same employer for 10 years. Surles is an attorney. Their family is as stable, loving and happy as any you will find. But some people think their family should be illegal.

The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, a right-wing religious group that opposes homosexuality, opened a regional office in Charlotte earlier this year. "Many Americans are understandably outraged by what they believe is judicial tyranny as well as moral anarchy," wrote Rick Schatz, the group's national head, in a statement decrying same-sex marriages and advocating an amendment to the federal Constitution to define "the sanctity of marriage" as a union of one man and one woman. Last month, North Carolina's Republican Party added to their platform the declaration that they "oppose actions, such as 'marriage' or the adoption of children by same-sex couples, which attempt to legitimize and normalize homosexual relationships." The legislature is considering an amendment to the North Carolina constitution that would define marriage as a union between "one man and one woman" and ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnership. House Bill 1606 and Senate Bill 1057 have been in committee since May and have not been voted on yet.

But the notion that same-sex parents are tearing apart the fabric of society flies in the face of sociological evidence. Studies show no developmental differences between kids raised by same-sex couples and those raised by straight parents. They are no more likely to identify as gay themselves than their counterparts, either. A long list of child welfare groups support the legal recognition of same-sex parenting. The overwhelming conclusion of pediatricians, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers is that same-sex parents are just as capable of raising happy, healthy kids as straight parents are; to the extent that the children are harmed, it is only by the homophobia and legal discrimination their parents face. "Children deserve to know that their relationships with both of their parents are stable and legally recognized," says the American Academy of Pediatrics in an official policy statement. That recognition would establish the rights of child support and health benefits and lead to a more "positive outcome" in the event that the couple separates or one parent dies.

In reality, families headed by same-sex couples are prospering, becoming more visible and integrating into mainstream society. According to a study of 2000 Census data released last month by the Urban Institute, gay and lesbian couples live in 97 percent of U.S. counties, and one out of every three lesbian couples and one out of five gay couples are raising children. The number of gay and lesbian couples in North Carolina rose 720 percent between 1990 and 2000. As of 2000, there were 16,198 gay and lesbian couples in the state, and 31 percent of them were raising children. The wave of same-sex couples conceiving and adopting children together began in the mid- to late-1980s. Today, those kids are school-age, and society is facing its ambivalence toward gays and lesbians on new territory: in the classroom, on the soccer field and at the PTA meeting.

In order to protect their family, Rimer and Surles, like thousands of other gay parents, have to navigate a Byzantine legal system. They can't get the automatic legal protections that come with marriage, so the couple has spent thousands of dollars on legal measures to provide security and basic rights for their children and to make sure they aren't taken away from the only home they've ever known. "I don't care what anybody thinks of me," Rimer says. But grappling with the complexity of securing health care benefits and financial security for the boys has brought home to them the importance of having their relationship legally validated, from a purely pragmatic point of view. In trying to legislate moral disapproval over homosexual relationships, so-called defenders of children and families are only hurting the kids.

Like many parents, Rimer and Surles sometimes run the worst case scenario in their minds: What if one of them were hit by a bus tomorrow? What would happen to the children?

Rimer is the "paper mommy"--the legal parent listed on the adoption papers. Despite her equal role in caring and providing for the boys, North Carolina law says Surles has no legal relationship to them or to Rimer. So if Rimer were in intensive care, a hospital could bar Surles from visitation; worse yet, if the boys were injured, she could be denied the right to see them, make medical decisions, or bring them home.

To prevent that kind of crisis, Rimer and Surles have created every legal document their lawyer could come up with: wills designating one another as legal guardians of the boys if one of them dies first, financial and health care powers of attorney for each other in case one of them becomes incapacitated, and a power of attorney from Rimer giving Surles the right to make medical and educational decisions for the children.

The couple decided on a hyphenated name, "for their protection and ours," Rimer says, "just so there's no question, picking them up from the doctor or signing them up for soccer." But all of these rights are contestable. Without establishing Surles as a legal parent, through marriage or second-parent adoption, there is no guarantee that a court would recognize her as the boys' mother. While Rimer's parents basically accept Surles as co-mother to their grandchildren, they still have the power to contest her guardianship. "They could do that even with a will," Rimer says. "It does happen," Surles says quietly.

Rimer and Surles are my neighbors. Their boys walk--or ride, or run, or wobble--past our front porch every day. I often forget there is anything unusual about their family, because in this neighborhood, there is nothing unusual about it.

But given the climate of the state legislature and the national political scene, local gay and lesbian parents are feeling insecure. Even those who are out in most or all aspects of their lives were reluctant to go on the record for this story to discuss their family's experiences. (Rimer and Surles asked that I not use their sons' names.)

When I drop by on a Saturday afternoon, the women are baking cookies while the boys play in the living room and watch Inspector Gadget. Rimer says their house is decorated in "early childhood," with stain-resistant rugs and as few sharp edges as possible. The boys are fond of frozen peas, fizzy water and a plastic toy lawn mower they take turns pushing across the carpet. Two family dogs, wearing bandanas, patrol the living room.

"I angsted about wanting to be a mom forever," Rimer says. Ten years ago, she went to foster parenting classes but decided the uncertainty of the foster care system didn't work for her. At one point, she and Surles considered moving to Denver, where Rimer's sister lives. "I just had an epiphany one day at work and just said to myself, instead of moving to be closer to my sister's kids, why don't we have our own kids? I came home that night and Cathy was like, OK."

Settling down in an environment where they feel supported was important to Surles and Rimer. In our cozy, idyllic neighborhood, there are few single or childless people, but gay families are a visible presence. All the kids play together on the play set and in the meadow. "It's huge to be in a community, in a family, where the people you spend time with recognize it and validate it," Surles says. Even her parents, who live in Virginia, visit frequently to dote on their grandchildren. "My family's always been really incredibly supportive. In fact they're always like, 'When are you going to get married?'"

Both women say that if it weren't for the kids, that thought wouldn't have entered their minds. "I've never really had a desire to get married," says Surles. "But to me the issue now is really a matter of equality, and if you want to get married you should be able to and you should have the rights."

Rimer agrees. "I could give a hoot about what you call it," she says. "If it would be easier to get the stuff through by calling it domestic partnership, call it whatever you want."

She added that she is skeptical, however, that a relationship by any other name would offer the same legal protections.

An irony of the gay baby boom is that gay and lesbian parents tend to be drawn to places that may not be especially accepting of gays. The Old North State ranks 18th out of the 50 states for the proportion of families headed by same-sex couples. Yet, Urban Institute researcher Gary Gates says, "It's a state with some of the least supportive gay laws." North Carolina ranks 47th in legal protections. "That reflects a national trend," he says. "Gay and lesbian couples are most likely to have children in the South, and the South has the least amount of legal protections for kids being raised by same-sex couples." Why move to the lion's den? "I think the pattern is that same-sex couples are more likely to be raising children where other people are raising children," he says.

Gay and lesbian parents are looking for the same things other parents are looking for: proximity to extended family, safe neighborhoods, affordable real estate, good schools, parks and so on. "Same-sex couples [with children] look more like the people around them than like other gay people," he says. Among metro areas in the state, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill ranks second for the proportion of gay families, with Durham the overwhelming favorite of lesbian parents. "Asheville is by far the 'gayest' city in North Carolina," Gates says. Third place is Charlotte, followed by Greensboro and Wilmington.

If you're a gay parent in the Triangle, you've probably been to Sharon Thompson's law office in Durham. Thompson has been practicing family law for more than 25 years. She's one of the few attorneys in the state with particular expertise in gay and lesbian families, and she has clients from the mountains to the coast.

She says opponents of gay marriage are only hurting the children. "They don't want to give any recognition to same-sex relationships, they don't want to acknowledge their existence or support it in any way. The relationships are going to go on, the families are going to go on. The only thing that won't go on is that the children won't have two legal parents--two legal parents who have the legal obligation to support them. They won't have rights to inheritance, they won't have rights to benefits that either their employers provide or that the government provides, like Social Security, despite the fact that both parents are paying into Social Security."

Thompson counsels her clients from the beginning about which options will give them the most rights. Men have more difficulty than women, since they often rely on surrogate mothers. "That's the scariest way to do it," she says, because so many things can go wrong. Medical technology plays a significant role in the decision-making process: With paternity tests now 100 percent accurate, women who use anonymous sperm donations to conceive must consider the unlikely possibility that the donor may one day try to claim his rights as the biological father.

But technology cuts both ways. A lesbian couple Thompson represents both plan to be biological mothers of their child. The egg of one woman will be artificially inseminated and carried by her partner, who will give birth to the child. They're going to all this trouble, Thompson says, "in order to have both women's names on the birth certificate."

Neither Rimer nor Surles wanted to experience childbirth, so adoption was the obvious route. After talking to friends, they decided on international adoption. "We started down that path and worked with the same people our friends had worked with, and just started doing the paperwork." Things went smoothly. Soon, they were abroad, with Rimer signing papers and getting an exit visa for their son. Soon thereafter, they adopted another child through the same process. Adoption fees cost upward of $20,000 per child, plus travel expenses, plus a home-site visit to determine whether the parent is suitable ($1,500), and another $2,500 in lawyer's fees. Parents should then go through a process called "re-adoption" in order to get a certificate of citizenship for the children, which will make them eligible for a U.S. passport. That process costs thousands more. Rimer says she's heard horror stories about children who were deported for doing something illegal as teenagers because their parents hadn't gone through the re-adoption process.

But bringing their sons home was just the beginning. Thompson advises her clients to do everything possible to legally demonstrate their intention to provide equal care and responsibility for the children. The price is high. Each document costs $1,000 or more. "That's one of the real inequities of the situation," Thompson says. "All a heterosexual couple has to do is go down, pay $50 to get a marriage license, and all of a sudden, all these rights and laws apply." Marriage automatically establishes legal parentage to any child born during the marriage, parental consent to medical treatment of the kids, parental rights upon divorce, obligation to support the children, and pension and Social Security benefits to the spouse and the children in the event of one parent's death. "Even if they don't get married," Thompson says, "the biological father has all these rights, versus for a same-sex couple to do all the documenting of property, to do all the parenting documents, to do their wills."

More than 20 states offer second-parent adoption, but North Carolina isn't one of them. So Thompson devised a legal way of establishing mutual responsibility for the children: the "friendly lawsuit."

"That, unfortunately, is the non-legal parent suing the legal parent," she explains. In a custody dispute between a husband and wife, the final result is a consent order, signed by the judge, which works out the terms of shared custody and financial obligations. In a "friendly lawsuit," one member of a happily committed, cohabiting couple sues the other for custody, in order to establish a consent decree in which both partners can express their understanding of mutual responsibility toward the children. It's designed, Thompson says, so that, "should a dispute ever arise in the future, they will be treated as equal parents."

The women say they've heard opponents of same-sex marriage argue that marriage isn't necessary, because it's possible for couples to make wills and other such documents. They know from experience that those documents aren't enough. Besides, Rimer asks, "If we can do a lot of documents to get protections and people aren't bothered by that, why would they be bothered by making it so you don't have to do that?"

According to recent opinion polls, Americans are less bothered all the time. A Gallup poll taken last month shows that while Americans are still divided as to the root of homosexuality (nature or nurture), 54 percent agree that "homosexuality should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle." That's up from 46 percent last July, during the backlash period after the Supreme Court decision overturning the Texas sodomy law. With the exception of that drop, the number has risen steadily over the past decade.

When it comes to marriage, public acceptance also continues to rise. A Gallup poll last month showed the highest level of public support for gay marriage since 1996, when Gallup started asking the question. When asked first about civil unions and then about gay marriage, 49 percent approved of civil unions and 35 approved of marriage. When the order of the questions was reversed, however, 42 percent approved of marriage, and 56 percent approved of civil unions. Gallup concluded, "Many people see civil unions as an alternative to gay marriage, and once they can express their opposition to the latter they are more willing to embrace the 'civil unions' alternative."

Surles says the gay baby boom has changed the gay community as well as the rest of society. "I think if anything, it's made more of a division between gay families with kids and those without," she says. "It is true that those of us who are family oriented tend to hang out more with other gay people who have kids, the same way straight people do. If you have kids, you tend to hang out more with people who have kids."

It's certainly changed her life, she says. "When you have kids, you're out on a much more visible level than ever before and you connect with people you never thought you would have before, because they have kids. So you end up talking to people that you probably would not have ever had a connection with. Which is a good thing, in the sense that it does make our families more acceptable because we're not so different."

Thompson's work has changed as well. "In my era, 25 years ago, if you decided you that coming out was important to you, you had to accept that you weren't going to have children. When I started practicing, the whole big issue was more people coming out of marriages and acknowledging sexual orientation. The big issue back then was losing custody of your children because you were gay."

Children might prompt a cease-fire in the culture war. "Getting to know parents on the soccer field or in the PTA, that's really what's going to change people's attitudes. I think elected officials need to catch up with what's going on in the schoolyard."

This story has been corrected since it was published.

 10   6  COMMENTS

So "the kids are all right," are they? Are you sure?
by ncdave4life Cary 28 Jun 2009, 4:04pm Report this comment

The comment in red (below) by "turbodog" was deleted, apparently by the indyweek editors:

I wish it were that simple, Dave, but it turns out there is no link between child molestation and sexual orientation. -->
by turbodog Raleigh 29 Jun 2009, 12:08pm Report this comment

Unfortunately, there is a very strong link between homosexuality and the sexual molestation of children.

It is true that a majority of homosexuals never molest children. It is also true that a majority of child molesters are heterosexual, not homosexual.

However, it is also true that, statistically, homosexuals are much more likely to molest children than are heterosexuals.

For example: Dr. Stephen Rubin of Whitman College conducted a ten-state study of sex abuse cases involving school teachers. He studied 199 cases. Of those, 122 male teachers had molested girls, while 14 female teachers had molested boys. He also discovered that 59 homosexual male teachers had molested boys and four female homosexual teachers had molested girls. In other words, 32 percent of those child molestation cases involved homosexuals, though they account for less than 10% of the teachers.

Likewise, in the pedophile priest scandal that rocked the American Roman Catholic church a few years ago, the vast majority of the pedophiles were homosexuals, though the great majority of priests were heterosexuals. The reason is that homosexual men are far more likely to molest children than are heterosexual men.

Research has consistently found that homosexual men are several times as likely as heterosexuals to molest very young children. Additionally, pederasty is rampant among homosexual men: research has found that about 1/3 of homosexual men are sexually attracted to adolescent boys.

Child molestation has a level of acceptance in the gay community that would be unfathomable for straights. That's why NAMBLA exists, and why there's no analogous heterosexual organization promoting sexual relationships between adult men and underage girls.

For another example, consider gay travel guides. Most of them contain tips for finding underage sexual liaisons in other countries. You will NEVER find such material in non-gay travel guides, because heterosexuals would never buy such a book.

That's also why the Eno Commons community is circling the wagons, and refusing to talk about what Frank Lombard did. They are not so much shocked as defensive. They are less horrified by the crime than by the bad publicity.

Read the N&O article about Frank Lombard's uncooperative neighbors, and think about how unimaginable such behavior would be in a straight community.

When someone in a straight community is arrested for a heinous crime, there are always plenty of neighbors willing to talk to reporters, and express their shock or suspicions. ("I can scarcely believe it; they were always quiet, kept to themselves, you know, kept their lawn mowed, never caused any trouble.")

But Eno Commons is different. It is an LGBT-friendly community, founded by a prominent lesbian activist, which advertised "No Restrictions on Romantic Relationships (between consenting adults)."

Think about that advertisement for a moment. Would YOU raise a family in a neighborhood which ADVERTISED "no restrictions on romantic relationships (between consenting adults)?" What kind of a place is THAT for children??

Obviously, it is a TERRIBLE place for children. It people of Eno Commons know it, too. That's why they are doing frantic damage control. For instance, that quote advertising no restrictions on romantic relationships between consenting adults is from the Google cached copy of one of their web pages; they've removed it from the current version, in the wake of this news story.

by ncdave4life Cary 30 Jun 2009, 12:12am Report this comment
NCDave4Life: If you're pinning your contention on a study of 199 people, that's not very convincing. And to say there's no heterosexual organization promoting sexual relationships between adult men and underage girls is to ignore magazines like "Barely Legal," whose victims are supposedly of age, but look as young as possible. Heterosexual men don't need organizations; their lust for young women is implicitly sanctioned by society, including advertising.

And if you don't think there are travel spots for straight pedophiles, then you're overlooking Thailand, long known as the place to go for such exploits. Your assumptions about Eno Commons are unfounded. (I don't live there, for the record.) And I think you've made sweeping generalizations about how neighborhoods respond to situations. As a former cops reporter, I've been in plenty of situations in which the neighbors didn't want to talk and it had nothing to do with the sexuality of the alleged perpetrator.

And I do live in a neighborhood where there are no restrictions on romantic relationships between consenting adults. It's called the world.

If Frank Lombard is guilty, then he has committed a heinous, heinous crime. But to use him to paint an entire neighborhood or LGBT community as perverted is illogical, unfair and unfounded.

I won't be conversing with you about this NCDave4Life, as I have a feeling you have more time on your hands than I do. But I couldn't allow your comments to go unchallenged.

by Lisa Sorg, Indy Editor ( Durham 30 Jun 2009, 7:18am Report this comment
Thank you Lisa!
by arthurb3 NC 30 Jun 2009, 12:17pm Report this comment

Comments (below) in red were deleted by the indyweek editors, who also permanently banned their author, ncdave4life:


Thank you for your reply, Lisa. Please permit me to make a few points in response.

#1. Through you might not think a study of 199 molestation cases is convincing, a statistician would disagree. n=199 is a pretty good sample size. It means that the 95% confidence interval for that 32% figure is +/- 6.5%. In other words, we can be certain, with 95% confidence, that between 25.5% and 38.5% of teachers who molest children are homosexual, even though fewer than 10% of all teachers are homosexual.

The conclusion is inescapable: homosexual teachers are far more likely to sexually molest children than are heterosexuals. (Also, men are far more likely to molest children than are women.)

If you google for "sample size" and "confidence interval" you will find many web sites which make this sort of calculation simple for non-statisticians. For example:

#2. Also, I don't think your comparison between NAMBLA and Barely Legal is germane. Though I'm not familiar with that magazine, it presumably does not agitate for legalization of sexual relationships between adult men and minors, which NAMBLA does.

Normal, heterosexal men are attracted to women who "look fertile." That's why women in their 20s and late teens are considered most beautiful. But a great many homosexual men are attracted to junior high school boys, and some (like Frank Lombard) are sexually attracted to even younger children. That's perverse in the extreme.

#3. Also, I noticed that you did not respond to my observation about the "pedophile priest" scandal of 2002-2004. Those numbers are very sobering.

According to sociologist (and very liberal Catholic Priest) Andrew Greeley, about 4% of American priests sexually abused children. Of them, 81% were homosexual, and 19% were heterosexual. Yet just 16% of all Catholic priests are homosexual.

Even without doing the math, the implications are obvious: homosexuals are far more likely to sexually molest children than are heterosexuals.

But the math is simple. If 16% of priests are homosexual, and 81% of abusers are homosexuals, you can easily calculate that a homosexual priest is (81/19) / (16/84) = 22.4 times as likely as a heterosexual priest to be an abuser.

Greeley also found that heterosexual priests were twice as likely as homosexual priests to keep their vows of celibacy. But even if the calculation is restricted to sexually active priests, it still means that sexually active homosexual priests were 11.2 times as likely as sexually active heterosexual priests to molest children.

Let's do another calculation. Since only 4% of priests were abusers, and 81% of abusers are homosexuals then we can calculate that 0.81 x .04 = 3.24% of priests were homosexual child molesters. Now if 16% of priests were homosexual, and 3.24% of priests were homosexual abusers, that means (.0324/.16) = 20.25% of homosexual priests were sexual abusers of children.

What's more, Greeley found that 3/5 of homosexual priests were celibate, and thus did not sexually abuse anyone. If 3/5 of homosexual priests were celibate, and 20.25% of homosexual priests were child abusers, then you can calculate that 0.2025/.4 = 50.6% of sexually active homosexual priests molested children.

Here's a link to an article where Greeley discussed his findings:

#4. Also, you seem to have missed my point about the Eno Commons neighborhood's web page (before they sanitized it). I wrote:

    "Would YOU raise a family in a neighborhood which ADVERTISED 'no restrictions on romantic relationships (between consenting adults)?' What kind of a place is THAT for children??"

You responded:

    "I do live in a neighborhood where there are no restrictions on romantic relationships between consenting adults. It's called the world."

But that wasn't my point. I didn't ask whether you would live in a neighborhood in which there were no restrictions on sexual promiscuity, I asked if you would raise children in a neighborhood which advertised no restrictions on sexual promiscuity. Normal neighborhoods may not be able to prevent promiscuous people from living there, but they do not advertise that they welcome promiscuous people! Normal, kid-friendly neighborhoods advertise safety, and stable, monogamous families. There's something very perverse about advertising that a supposedly "kid-friendly" neighborhood welcomes promiscuity.

#5. Here's something even creepier. Recall that Lombard told the undercover cop that it was easy to adopt African-American babies for sex, and he adopted two of them. That's why he adopted black babies. But (before they sanitized it) the Eno Commons web site noted that 11% (i.e., 7 of 60) of those living there were "people of color," and all them were children. That means there are five other African-American children living there, in that LGBT-friendly neighborhood, on Indigo Creek Trail (probably named after Indigo Girls, the lesbian folk band), with white adoptive parents. Considering the neighbors' defensive reaction to Lombard's arrest, I have a sickening fear that the other five may be suffering the same sort of abuse.

by ncdave4life Cary 1 Jul 2009, 11:38am (deleted by indyweek editors)

The "key characteristics" page on the web site links to the Eno Commons page on the site.

Compare their sanitized & unsanitized versions of that page:

Comparing the two shows you what the Eno Commons neighbors want to hide.

Under "Social Factors" they deleted the sex stuff (that they are LGBT-welcoming, and that there are "no restrictions on romantic relationships (between consenting adults)").

Under "Population" they deleted:
Adult Members: 38
Child Members: 22
Gender Balance: 39% M 61% F
Open to new adults: Yes
Open to new children: Yes
Open to which gender(s): All genders welcome
Ethnic Diversity: 11% identify as 'people of color' (all are children)
Age Focus: No Focus (Although we are very kid-friendly)
Age Restrictions: No

The sanitized version just says:
Members (adults and children): 60
Open to new members: Yes

What they are trying to hide is that the adults are all white, but 7 of the 22 children are "people of color." That wouldn't seem like something to be hidden, were it not for that fact that we now know WHY two of those black children were adopted. In that light, it seems suspicious that they wish to hide the fact that there are 5 more non-white children still there. Do you think that might have something to do with their hostility toward the N&O reporter?

by ncdave4life Cary 2 Jul 2009, 1:49am (deleted by indyweek editors)

I have some good news.

I checked the voter registration database for Eno Commons, and I'm glad to report that my nasty suspicion about there perhaps being molesters among the other neighbors was probably misplaced. I found only one likely male-homosexual household in Eno Commons: Frank Lombard and his partner, Kenneth Shipp.

Most of the households in Eno Commons (probably about 2/3) appear to be heterosexual. There are also some lesbians in the neighborhood, but I think that lesbians rarely molest children, so the other children in Eno Commons are probably NOT being sexually abused.

(I don't think lesbians make good role models for children, but it is my understanding that sexual molestation of children by lesbians is rare.)

I found that there were registered voters at 21 house numbers on Indigo Creek Trail: #2-10, #12, and #14-24.

There were no registered voters at house numbers 1, 11 & 13. I don't know whether there are houses at those addresses or not.

Caveats: These numbers are imprecise. I used an outdated (October) version of the voter database, and the numbers don't quite match the number of adults which (the unsanitized version of) the Eno Commons web site claimed live there. It is likely that one or more of the registered voters have moved away, and it is also possible that there are adults living in Eno Commons who are not registered to vote.

House #24 was occupied by Frank McCorkle Lombard (age 41) and Kenneth Wade Shipp (age 56). To my great relief, that was the ONLY all-male household that I found.

11 households had both male and female registered voters. Two of them had 3 adults, and the other nine had 1 male + 1 female. Those are all presumably heterosexual households.

9 of the households are all-female. 1 of them is probably a mother and daughter. 5 of them have just one registered voter, so their sexual orientation is unknowable. 3 of them have two unrelated female adults, probably lesbian.

So, of 21 households, only 4 are definitely or probably homosexual (1 male couple and 3 female couples), 12 are probably heterosexual (counting the mother+daughter), and 5 are females living alone.

There's a definite "LGBT flavor" to the neighborhood, but the emphasis is on on "L" (lesbian), and my best guess is that about 2/3 of the people living in Eno Commons are heterosexual.

Why do I say there's an "LGBT flavor" to the neighborhood, even though a majority of the residents are apparently heterosexual? There are several reasons:

1. The "key characteristics" page on the web site links to the Eno Commons page on the site. That page has now been sanitized, but before it was sanitized it boasted that Eno Commons was "open to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender members" and had "no restrictions on romantic relationships (between consenting adults)." You can compare their sanitized & unsanitized versions of that page:
Sanitized: (The differences are in the "Population" and "Social Factors" sections.)

2. Further emphasizing their LGBT-friendly policies, the unsanitized version of the page linked to this IndyWeek article "about one of our families."

3. The one and only street in Eno Commons is named Indigo Creek Trail. That's probably Indigo as in "Indigo Girls," the famous lesbian folk musicians.

4. This web page mentions that Eno Commons was founded by Ms. Sherri Zann Rosenthal. She's a longtime lesbian activist, whom you can read about here:

One last note, just because I'm sure someone is wondering: Frank Lombard and Kenneth Shipp are both registered Democrats.

by ncdave4life Cary 2 Jul 2009, 5:32am (deleted by indyweek editors)
We welcome your comments and thoughts pertaining to this story, including if they differ from ours.
We do not welcome rants or personal attacks, which will be deleted.

by Denise, Indy Editorial Web Director ( Durham 2 Jul 2009, 1:32pm Report this comment
What is not being addressed is the plain and simple fact that there is a telling silence coming from the gay and lesbian community in cases like this. Since the 1997 kidnap, murder, then molestation of a 10 year old Massachusetts boy, Jeffrey Curley, by two gay men, both members of the gay pedophile group, NAMBLA, advocacy groups like GLAAD have sought to threaten and coerce the media to not report on such crimes. GLAAD even sided with NAMBLA during the trials of the two men, claiming that while kidnapping and murder were appropriate charges, they felt that child molestation was not a crime. This was repeated in 1999, after the molestation and murder of 13 year old Jesse Dirkhising of Arkansas. GLAAD was found to have sent out threatening and coercive press releases, to intimidate the news media into not reporting the murder. The Star Ledger of New Jersey actually printed the press release from GLAAD. The head of GLAAD dismissed all concerns about their attempts to censor the news claiming that it was just another murder of a child, as though it was something to forget about. GLAAD, the HRC, GLSEN and other such advocacy groups have refused to condemn these criminal acts, and in fact have refused to issue a statement condemning Frank Lombard, NAMBLA, and especially the NAMBLA clone, lesbian pedophile organization, "Butterfly Kisses" that has formed, to be activist for the complete eradication of age of consent laws, and any protection against the molestation of children. They've allied themselves with pro-pedophile lecturers like Dr. William Stayton, who infers that adults who engage in sexual acts with children, no matter how young should not be considered criminals, and he believes that parents who object to their children being molested are "bigots". So, rather than get on a high horse, if you truly care about children, respecting their dignity and safety, it's incumbent on all of you to actually walk the walk. You can't get away with dismissing concerns and then giving silent approbation to those who seek to abuse and exploit children.
by jenny Chapel Hill 4 Jul 2009, 1:37pm Report this comment
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