The Supreme Court declined to rule broadly on grandparents' visitation rights by deciding 6-3 that a Washington state law violated the right of parents to raise their families free from governmental interference. The 1994 state law allowed any person to petition for visiting rights, which could be granted when they serve the child's "best interests."
The Supreme Court acknowledged that family dynamics are changing and that family law falls into the province of state legislatures and courts. The June decision stopped short of ruling the Washington law unconstitutional.
The case stemmed from a suit by Jenifer and Gary Troxel, members of Edison Lutheran Church, Bow, Wash., who wanted to continue seeing two granddaughters after their son committed suicide in 1993 (March). The children's mother limited their visits to one afternoon a month.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Jenifer Troxel said: "We haven't seen the girls since last May. We hope now that we can work something out with their mother in mediation. ... The girls' mother has said in the press that she hasn't meant to deny visitation. We hope she'll keep her word."
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