Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why #BringKellysKidsHome Should Matter to Every American

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   For those readers who have steadfastly remained intrigued by my posts since my earliest days of authorship here in my corner of the Internet, you shall know from experience that I rarely deviate from the subject of opera within my humble musings for the purpose of this blog. However, I have been known on occasion to delve into other realms of the entertainment world, and this post counts for another rare foray there. Sometimes there comes an issue so important and so close to my heart that I cannot remain silent upon it, so I must pen some thought about it. For those who are acquainted with me through Twitter, you shall probably know that I customarily reserve my more public thoughts and opinions for its platform, for I revere my blog as a very specialized niche of my authorship, and it should be a disservice to my audience if I was to delve too frequently into other places without the world of opera. Nevertheless, as a matter of principle, I feel I must do so here, and I do hope that all of you shall continue to peruse this post despite this caveat.

     I am the first to admit that the realm of popular culture is rather without the scope of my interests or expertise, but I am occasionally known to follow a popular venture in the form of entertainment, and from this there will stem interest in the artists and performers whose endeavors issue forth a finished product from time to time. Actress Kelly Rutherford became an interest of mine in recent years following her role in television's Gossip Girl. An initial admiration of her performance there soon grew into an appreciation for the kind, gracious person she consistently proves herself to be, and her promotion of haute couture in nearly every aspect of life is a most welcome one to me. A glance at her social media feeds supports this view of her, and I cannot say that I have ever noticed her to have so much as an insulting word to say against anyone. "Is she perfect," I hear the skeptics inquire. No, she is human, and I am certain that such a status begets a series of mistakes and imperfections in any of us, and, no, I am not naïve enough to believe that a considerable portion of what I see from her through the lens of social media is not there for the sole purpose of publicity in a favorable light. Nevertheless, from my limited interactions with her, and from the general knowledge I have, I believe her to be a gracious, genteel woman who presents her best efforts to be thoroughly courteous to all.

     Rutherford married Daniel Giersch in 2006, and the marriage lasted until 2008, when a divorce was sought. The couple had been blessed with a son, Hermés Gustaf Daniel Giersch, and Rutherford was expecting a daughter at the time of the divorce, as well. Daughter Helena was born in June of 2009, and the family, though tensely split between two parents in a custody battle over the children, continued.

     Throughout the custody proceedings, both Rutherford and Giersch made claims that most of us can agree were probably made more for the benefit of the press and publicity of the matter than anything else. Of course, I cannot assuredly say as much, for I am not well enough familiar with either party to make such an absolute claim, but I am not entirely bereft of knowledge pertaining to the effectiveness of the court of public opinion and the persistent reputation of one's image when one lives within the public light. There were assertions from Giersch that Rutherford withheld the information of his daughter's birth from him and that he only learned of it through media reports. Rutherford insists that she feared her children might have been abducted throughout the custody hearings, which is not an entirely unfounded concern in such cases. Other supposed legal minds of the Internet will also remind us of how Rutherford's legal team conveniently informed the State Department of Giersch's allegedly questionable business practices, which led to the revocation of his visa and subsequent deportation from the United States. However, these are red herrings insofar as we as Americans ought to be concerned, for they are of no bearing in the actual case that ought to be made in light of the result of the custody decision from an American court.

     Originally, in 2009, custody was ordered to be jointly shared between both Rutherford and Giersch as a temporary arrangement until 2010. In April of 2012, a full two years following the initially agreed upon end of the temporary custody agreement, Giersch's visa was revoked, and he was deported based upon allegations of illegal business practices. Often, the story of the custody decision is told from this point without any insight into the importance of what this meant for the children, who are American citizens, but I shall not make such a grave error. Because Giersch was no longer permitted to enter the United States, it gave Rutherford de facto custody of the children on the condition they remained here in the United States, and this was the point Rutherford tried to use to ask the court to grant her sole legal and physical custody of the children. However, the Superior Court of the state of California decided this was unfair and ordered that the once temporary custody agreement remain in place. So that Giersch could exercise his joint custody, it was the decision of the court that the children must reside in France and that Rutherford would have to travel there to exercise her joint custody.

     If we look beyond the sole issue of custody, we must soon come to the realization that the Superior Court of the state of California has effectively ruled that two citizens of the United States, citizens who are children, mind you, must be forced to reside without the country and surrender the rights of their native country to satisfy the temporary rights of a man who is not a citizen of the nation its decisions are supposed to represent and who cannot legally enter the country due to a quantity of enough sufficient evidence of illegal activity for the federal government to deny him visitation privileges to destinations within our shores. Therefore, even denouncing every claim Rutherford may have to substantiate her right to the custody of her children, the Superior Court of the state of California released a decision in utter disregard of the rights of the children, citizens to whom it owes the duty of legal representation and preference in its decisions.

     To come at great length to the point of this post, why should this matter to Americans? What bearing does this case have upon any of us? Most of us will not marry a person of foreign descent, so our likelihood of being involved in a similar case is greatly diminished, many will argue. Be that as it may, we are faced here with an injustice against two American citizens and a mother, who is also an American citizen, to the benefit of one who has no right or granted privilege to be found in this nation. If it is not reversed, this decision is now given the benefit and almost unassailable legal credibility of precedent, which can then be applied in a myriad of interesting ways to the cases of today and the future. Will we as Americans stand for the violation of fellow citizens' rights? Let us hope we do not, for we, too, are then made subject to the will of a court with a safeguard for the interests of those who are other than Americans in mind in its decisions, a notion that is quite beyond the authority and scope of the American legal system.

     In addition to the #BringKellysKidsHome campaign, Kelly also has become a staunch advocate of the Children's Justice Campaign. At its root, the Children's Justice Campaign seeks to introduce legislative alterations to the treatment of decisions regarding children in custody hearings in hopes of making the best decision for the child. At its heart, I support the Children's Justice Campaign; however, as one continues to read the research that accompanies this idea and the proposed conclusions we must make from this, which must then affect the legislation introduced, I cannot profess further support, nor do I believe it is the best resource our nation possesses to prevent cases such as this. The law as it presently exists protects the rights of citizens over citizens of foreign countries, and this case merely exhibits absolute disregard for the protection of the rights of citizens of our nation. If the Children's Justice Campaign were more acutely focused on this injustice and travesty, it should receive my full endorsement and support. As it presently exists, I reiterate that I quite agree with the founding principle of the organization, but my support is limited only to that.

     As I conclude this narrative of events and commentary of thoughts, let us all pray for the safe and expedient return of Kelly Rutherford's children to their native country and that their rights as citizens of this great nation shall be preserved and defended by a higher court whose best of intentions are reserved for the people it is its duty to represent and protect. Let the legal behave as it should and side with the rule of law to #BringKellysKidsHome. I pray that all of you are marvelously blessed and that life continues in a state of joy for all of you.


ABC News


Anonymous said...

Dear Tyler,

this is indeed a great read. But it is a very complex story that none of us really seems to understand. Kelly still has custody, she can see her children frequently - which she hasn't done since December, I believe. Giersch on the other hand could not see the children if they would move back to the US - and let's not discuss why he lost visa. None of us knows.

In my opinion their rights as US citizens are not as important as their rights as children - to be with both parents. Giersch keeps them out of the public eye and wants them to live in peace while Kelly has always used them for her own PR. There are no pictures or stories about them when there are in France or Monaco etc but there is a lot of publicity when they're with her in New York. Kelly takes them to red carpet and even forced to walk a runway when everyone could see how uncomfortable and scared they were. I'm not saying Kelly is a bad mother but she's also not Mother Theresa.

I do support the campaing but please leave the poor children alone and let them live in peace where they've been the last three years.

I know both of them personally and it took me a while to figure the whole thing out but everyone's priority should be the children. Please stop using them for her PR or to "prove a point".

Thank you.

Mike Whitney said...

Kelly Rutherford is a first class piece of sh*t.

Tyler Barton said...

Dear Anonymous Reader,

Thank you ever so much for reading my thoughts on this issue. While I must confess that Kelly's motives for putting her children in the public eye could be for her own betterment, I must also admit that Giersch has no reason to do so since he has de facto custody of the children most of the time, which gives him every reason to keep them hidden away so that attention is not brought to the issue. I would also wonder whether Kelly truly can see the children as frequently as she wishes. Since filing for bankruptcy, I have little knowledge of her financial situation, but I am not sure she is as affluent as the media might suggest. As for her "use" of the children, to adopt such a term, as I believe I mentioned in the article, I do not know to what extent public relations are involved, but simply making a child do something with which he or she is uncomfortable is hardly a viable indicator of such a thing, for it is through such encounters that parents help their children to grow. As for the rights of the children, I still believe their rights as American citizens should come first. Why cannot the burden of ferrying the children to some neutral place rest upon Giersch since he is no longer permitted in these United States for whatever reason? In an American court, the rights of Americans must come first provided they are not at the criminal expense of another, and it is my continued opinion that the justice system in California made an egregious error in the execution of its justice. Most analysts agree with my view or are more favorable to Rutheford's opinion that goes along the lines of the mother being the more important of the parents for children, which is a view that I have never shared or propagated due to an huge lack of any evidence to that effect. Nevertheless, thank you for your insight on the matter, and I hope you visit my blog again.


Tyler Barton said...

Dear Mr. Whitney,

Thank you for reading my post; however, I must say, your comment is most discourteous to Ms. Rutherford, and I am certain she should have a much kinder word to say to you if she happened to meet you anywhere. Whether or not you agree with how she has lived her life, no one is deserving of such an accusation, and I give you the benefit of the doubt that your education and upbringing have helped you to find more expressive and genteel manners of relating your opinions, and I do hope that you shall employ them to greater effect in the future.


CByrne said...

I must agree with 'anonymous' regarding the rights of the children. Ms. Rutherford's previous behavior shows a pattern of parental alienation, something the courts take very seriously when deciding the best interest of the children during custody hearings. I also read that Mr. Giersch has offered to pay Ms. Rutherford's expenses (flight, lodging, transportation) during her visitation with the children, so personal cost should not be an issue for her. Human rights, the right of children to be raised by their parents, do not dictate the country they reside in. If their father is a resident of another country, don't the children have the 'right' to be raised in that country as well?

Anonymous said...

She still won't sleep with you.....

Phil said...

Under the arrangement of custody. Daniel has to buy Kelly six round-trip airline tickets to France per school year, and put her up in a house with a car while she's in the country.
Would like to know what happened to the estate of Carlos Tarajano - her first husband of six months, who she left when he got a heart condition before their wedding was even printed in InStyle magazine - and how much she would have received, given he died six months later?

eastcoast said...

Bravo Tyler. I could not agree more with your astute grasp of the Rutherford/Geirsch matter. I can not fathom any U.S. Court making such a ruling as to deport minor children from their own country because father has visa concerns. It makes zero sense. The precedent that is set now is frightening.