Loading
Vermont custody dispute highlights legal consequences of same-sex unions
Isabella and Lisa Miller
Isabella and Lisa Miller

.- 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 Isabella’s Christmas plays, because she does not want to be around a Christian environment. She has also said that it is not in Isabella’s best interest to be raised in a Christian home.”

Miller’s 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.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Aug
21

Liturgical Calendar

August 21, 2014

Saint Pius X, Pope

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Gospel
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ezek 36: 23-28
Gospel:: Mt 22: 1-14

Saint of the Day

Pope St. Pius X »

Saint
Date
08/19/14
08/17/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 19:23-30

Homily
Date
08/19/14
08/18/14
08/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: