Skip to comments.Vermont custody dispute highlights legal consequences of same-sex unions
Posted on 01/05/2010 1:43:58 PM PST by NYer
.- In a case showing some ramifications of the legal recognition of same-sex unions, a Virginia woman has disobeyed a Vermont court order to turn over sole custody of her biological daughter to her former lesbian partner.
Lisa Miller conceived and gave birth to her daughter Isabella through artificial insemination in 2002 while living in a same-sex civil union with Janet Jenkins in Vermont. Miller left Jenkins and homosexual practice a year later and converted to an evangelical form of Christianity, the New York Times reports.
Jenkins brought a legal action seeking custody of Isabella in a Vermont court, claiming that the Vermont homosexual civil union law guarantees her parental rights.
Judge William D. Cohen of the Vermont Family Court granted significant visitation rights to Jenkins when he dissolved their union. He awarded custody to Jenkins on Nov. 20, 2009 after finding Miller in contempt of court for denying access to Isabella.
Miller has claimed that Isabella has shown signs of violent reactions to previous court-ordered visitations with Jenkins. She alleges that Isabella has complained that Jenkins forced her to bathe naked together.
"I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with her, and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit," Miller has told Newsweek. "There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game.
Supporters of Jenkins include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the homosexual activist group Lambda Legal Defense Fund.
The legal advocacy group Liberty Council, which represents Miller, claims that for the last five years, Jenkins has neither attempted to phone nor write Isabella. She has never sent Isabella a card of any kind for any occasion.
Moreover, the Liberty Council said in a December 2009 statement, Jenkins has refused to attend Isabellas Christmas plays, because she does not want to be around a Christian environment. She has also said that it is not in Isabellas best interest to be raised in a Christian home.
Millers attorney, Liberty Council founder Mathew Staver, has argued that Virginia law holds same-sex unions and any right created by such unions are void and unenforceable in the state.
The legislature and the people have spoken clearly and with one voice on this issue. The future of Isabella is literally being weighed in a balance between two states, he said, according to the Christian Post.
Other commentators were critical of Judge Cohen.
Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said he showed little understanding of the case or sensitivity to children.
He claimed the change in parental custody, which includes moving to a new home, school, and state to live with a virtual stranger, would cause some disruption for Isabella but would not be out of the norm for a child, she commented.
In a Monday e-mail to CNA, Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, made general comments about the case.
"I have sympathy for the pre-eminent claims of natural parents versus legal parents, when the natural mother is a fit parent (which nobody has denied in this case). But we have to be a nation ruled by laws, even when those laws may be unjust.
Let this act as a warning call: Don't enter civil unions with people if you do not want to give them legal rights over your children. And do not give much faith in the best interest of the child standard to protect your child. If the best interest of the child conflicts with fashionable legal norms, courts will not care what is in your child's best interest.
It cannot be in Lisa's daughter's interest to be forcibly moved to Vermont away from the only mother she has ever known. This case is a tragedy all around. I cannot endorse what Lisa Miller has done, but I understand it, and pity both women and most of all this child. I wish Lisa's partner had the wisdom of Solomon, but I cannot blame her either," Gallagher told CNA.
Prayers for this mother and child. The forces of darkness are descending and the mother and child need protection.
Tis obvious that the fact that Miller is no longer “in the life” and became a born-again Christian is what outraged the gay lobby.
So they decided to make this a showpiece case. Too bad that we always let these types choose their battles rather than have battles forced upon them.
Considering the ephemeral nature of gay relationships, I’m given to understand that very few gays actually get hitched even in places where they can. They just demand to have that right. Ms. Miller really should have thought things through, but I guess love is blind.
But, hey, it makes for more work for the lawyers.
This sound like CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE to me.
Where is Oprah on this one?
Bingo! It also tells us what we already know ... there is no 'homosexual' gene. This is a mental condition and it is possible to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
I can name one Judge Frawley, St. Louis Missouri.
“It is worse for a child not spend time with his father, than for the child to be physically abouse by the step-mother when he is at his father’s”.
Virginia needs to protect the right of the child not to be exposed to a degrading immoral lifestyle.
Clear, well written piece. As a conservative Protestant too, I agree with the writer on every point...
More accurately still, homosexual behavior is a sin-sickness. That would be a sin, that if committed habitually and long enough, brings mental illness and corruption.
This is why something like 1/3 of all child sexual abuse cases involve homosexuals...(who only make up something like 2% of the population). Not all homosexuals are abusers...but as substantial number of abusers are homosexual.
Thanks be to God by His grace and power in Christ Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, Christians can and do leave their sins (and sin-sicknesses) behind...