Divorce fight turns into free speech case
Divorce can be horrific and when there are kids involved, the bitterness has to lie under a blanket of child protection. Anthony Morelli was so frustrated with his divorce, he launched a blog called "The Psycho Ex Wife." For four years, he wrote about his nasty divorce with his ex and provided a community for people tangled up in fierce custody battles and gave plenty of scathing descriptions of his "PEW" as he calls her.
I thought it was no surprise that a judge ordered Morelli to take his site down, arguing that "your children are being hurt because you are bad mouthing the woman they love in public." But Morelli doesn't agree and many lawyers actually take his side that this is turning into a free speech case. A new site, SaveThePsychoExWife.com, is now linked to the homepage of The Psycho Ex-Wife. The new site argues:
Judge Diane E. Gibbons has violated the father's civil rights by ordering him to remove the blog. [...] The existence of the website, in and of itself, has no affect on his children. It would forever remain so, provided both parents monitor the children's computer usage as any good parent should.
I don't buy it. Family law judges routinely order each parent not to denigrate the other parent in the presence of the children. Isn't a blog just an extension of that?
The free speech issue is a tricky one. The First Amendment pretty much guarantees your right to be a complete jerk. I've always felt the greatest gift divorcing parents can give their kids is to let them be blissfully unaware of all the bitterness surrounding the breakup. And I support a judge's right to give those kids that gift.
--Sharon Kennedy Wynne
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