Saturday, March 15, 2008

Anti-Gay Elements Lose Anouth Round in Lesbian Custody Case

The battle between Lisa Miller-Jenkins and her former partner, Janet Miller-Jenkins, over the visitation rights granted to Janet Miller-Jenkins by a Vermont Court continues to rage. The birth mother, Lisa Miller-Jenkins, had previously moved to Virginia to try to cynically use Virginia's anti-gay laws to sever the visitation rights duly granted in Vermont where the two women had entered into a legal civil union. Now, Lisa claims she is no longer lesbian and is being aided by Liberty Counsel - a Christianist wing nut legal organization - and has tried once again to have the Vermont court's order overridden without success. She had previously failed to convince the Virginia appellate courts to disregard the long standing tradition of enforcing child custody rulings entered by courts in other states. I am glad that the Vermont Supreme Court refused to reopen the case. Here are some highlights from (
(Montpelier, Vermont) Vermont's Supreme Court declined Friday to review its earlier ruling in a nasty four year battle between two women over visitation rights to the young daughter of one of the women. "There is no new evidence or facts to consider that would affect our prior legal conclusions," the justices said in a written decision, allowing to stand its order that Janet Miller-Jenkins had visitation rights to the daughter born to her former partner Lisa Miller-Jenkins.
The lengthy war between the two women has involved the high courts of both Vermont and Virginia, with the US Supreme Court refusing to become involved.
When the relationship between the two women soured and they split up, a judge in Vermont gave Janet Miller-Jenkins temporary visitation rights with the child. Lisa Miller-Jenkins fled with her daughter to Virginia which has some of the most anti-gay legislation in the country. She then declared she was no longer a lesbian, hired a conservative Christian law firm, the Liberty Counsel, and went to court in Virginia seeking sole custody of the child. Janet Miller-Jenkins fought the application on the grounds that the case was already before the court in Vermont.
In 2006 the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that the state of Vermont has jurisdiction in the case, and threw out Prosser's ruling. The Appeals Court ruling was upheld by the Virginia Supreme Court. Last year the Vermont Supreme Court unanimously concluded that "under well-established laws designed to protect children and families" the Vermont Family Court properly ordered visitation between Janet and her daughter. Liberty Counsel appealed to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.

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