Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Virginia Must Enforce Gay Visitation Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court has let stand a ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court providing that Virginia must enforce a Vermont court order awarding child-visitation rights to a mother's former lesbian partner. The now "ex-gay" Lisa Miller (pictured at far left) had claimed that the Virginia Supreme Court improperly ignored a state law and constitutional amendment that prohibit same-sex unions and the recognition of such arrangements from other states. Hopefully, this will bring to an end the legal circus put on by Lisa Miller and her homophobic (and probably closeted) legal counsel from Liberty Counsel, Matt Staver. Here are highlights from WRIC-TV 8 in Richmond, Virginia:
The decision let stand a victory for Janet Jenkins, who has been fighting for visitation rights since the dissolution of the civil union she and Miller obtained in Vermont in 2000. Miller gave birth to the daughter, Isabella, in 2002, and the child was at the center of a legal battle closely watched by national conservative and gay-rights groups.
More details on the Miller-Jenkins legal war are found in a new Newsweek article that went to press prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of the case. Personally, I view Lisa Miller as the typical bogus "ex-gay" who is making a career out of being allegedly cured - she works for a Christian school - and has used her supposed cure as a hook by which she has garnered support from vehemently anti-gay groups and churches. Here are some highlights from Newsweek:
[O]n July 1, 2004—the very day Virginia enacted a new statute (the Marriage Affirmation Act) prohibiting any legal recognition of same-sex marriages or civil unions—Miller filed for sole custody, and a Virginia judge awarded it to her. She'd also accepted pro bono representation from Florida's Liberty Counsel, a legal firm whose goal is "advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family." It receives partial funding from the late Jerry Falwell's church, and Miller's main attorney, Mat Staver, is its founder as well as dean of Falwell's Liberty University School of Law.
Staver used Virginia's Marriage Affirmation Act and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (the latter says states can deny recognition of same-sex marriages that are deemed legal in other states) to bolster his client's case. Last June, it was decided that the kidnapping law trumped the marriage acts, and the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in Jenkins's favor. Miller's legal firm hopes to challenge the rulings upheld in Vermont and Virginia by petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case (they've had two requests denied and recently filed a third). As it stands, the outcome of Miller v. Jenkins represents a victory for the rights of gay parents.

1 comment:

Ultra Dave said...

Finally a ruling that uses common sense. About time.