Custody battle involving Rep. Bishop's daughter spotlights NY gay marriage laws

The daughter of a Long Island congressman is embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her estranged wife (2/19/13)

WOODBURY - The daughter of a Long Island congressman is embroiled in a bitter custody battle with her estranged wife, and the case is drawing the attention of gay rights advocates across Long Island.

Molly Bishop, daughter of Rep. Timothy Bishop (D-Southampton), has a 2-year-old son from her partner, Mercedes Counihan. The couple married in Connecticut, and Bishop gave birth to the child before New York's same-sex marriage laws took effect in 2011, so a judge hearing their divorce case ruled last week that Counihan had no parental rights.

The judge noted that Counihan never adopted the child, which would have been necessary under New York law before the gay marriage laws took effect. Friedman disputes that claim, and insists that the judge "ignored state law."

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Gay rights advocates say it's a gray area that has recently become an issue for same-sex parents. David Kilmnick, of Long Island GLBT Services Network, says he hopes the case brings attention to same-sex marriage laws.

However, Molly Bishop's attorney argues that the case is really about keeping the child from an allegedly abusive spouse.

Counihan's attorney denies that her client was ever abusive.
 

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