The ethical issues that I am faced with re, although I am a heterosexual counselor, I still sympathize with what the couple is going through especially since a child is involved. Helping the couple will take a lot of work. First I would sit both of them down and listen to everything that they are going through. I would give them the pros of staying together in the state, then I would give them the con, because the state we are in does not recognize same-sex marriage, they would lose their benefits; such as tax benefits, health and social security benefits.
In the case of discrimination, the state will not offer any kind of recourse cause the state law itself won’t accept the marriage. I would then discuss with the couple, the custody battle with Emily parents. First I would recommend that if it was k with Lois, Emily should have a one and one conversation with her parents. Another suggestion would for the couple to sit down with the grandparents and without throwing their sexuality in their faces, simply explain to them, that even though they are gay, they are capable of being good parents. It would be best to not be pushy and listen to the concerns of the grandparents.
If that didn’t work then I would talk with he parents, sometimes a person outside of the equation can shed a little light on the issue. Rebecca Farrell (personal communication, March 20, 2009) points out that this case also involves custody issues that are challenging when counseling a same-sex couple. If all that fails and the grandparents decide to pursue the custody, I would suggest for them to seek legal advice. For their safety from the neighbors and others that are interfering with them, I would suggest that they go to the area police station and make a statement, so the police can know their lives might be in danger. Overall
I would explain to them, not everyone is entitled to their beliefs and not everybody is going to accept this lifestyle. They might want to consider moving in a gay friendly neighborhood or move to a state where they won’t lose their benefits and they do not have to worry about hiding their sexuality. In my conclusion, even as a counselor, I know I can’t help everyone, but giving advice and steering them in the right way proves that I have good qualities of being a counselor that can make a difference in the lives of people even if their beliefs are different than mine.