June 27, 2004
By Laurence Hammack
Early in their 20 years together, Molly McClintock and Irene Peterson came to realize the rights they didn’t have.
The Christiansburg couple closely followed the case of Sharon Kowalski, a Minnesota woman who was left brain-damaged and paralyzed by a car wreck. Even though Kowalski had indicated she wanted to be cared for by her lesbian partner, Karen Thompson, a judge granted guardianship rights to Kowalski’s father instead.
Thompson eventually prevailed in 1991, but only after a long court battle that drew national attention. By then, McClintock and Peterson had decided to protect themselves from a similar fate.