On November 20th, a Vermont family court judge granted sole custody of a child to the former partner of Lisa Miller, even though Miller is the biological mother. The ruling followed a legal battle between Miller and Janet Jenkins - whose civil union the judge dissolved - over a prior order of visitation rights to Jenkins. Miller objected to visitation rights because she became an evangelical Christian, and found that Jenkins' contact with the child would violate her religious principles. Now Judge William Cohen has denied her stay pending appeal of his November 20th order. She is not entitled to a stay, he said, because "[i]t appears that Ms. Miller has ceased contact with her attorneys and disappeared with the minor child."
AP reports that Miller has not complied with an order to transfer her child to Jenkins' custody, and that the police are investigating Miller's whereabouts.
01/04/10 press release by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders:
Janet Jenkins today appealed to the public for help in locating her daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins. In an interstate custody dispute, the child’s other mother failed to transfer custody per court-order and has disappeared with the child.01/05/10 update
01/05/10 LGBT POV, by Syd Peterson:
Often, we LGBT folks speak about the “patchwork” of legal recognitions currently protecting us in a handful of states. Usually, we’re referencing relationship law in the context of our community’s disenfranchisement; for example, a couple who legally marry in one state faces a loss of protections if they move to a state where same-sex couples are not permitted to marry. This case is different: here, a “former” member of our community has tried to leverage our legal inequalities against one of us. Which is more ironic: that an ex-lesbian would try so doggedly to use antigay laws against her ex-partner, or the fact that state and federal law, in this case, have protected us?01/06/09 update
An arrest warrant for Virginia resident Lisa Miller was likely to be issued this week, according to lawyers involved in her child custody dispute that has become a focal point in the nation’s same-sex parenting debate ... “We’ve petitioned the court to issue a bench warrant because of Lisa’s continued refusal to comply with the custody order,” Jennifer Levi, a GLAD senior attorney, told DC Agenda. “The Rutland Family Court has been very responsive to this contempt [of court] concern that Janet has raised and could order pretty quickly.”