Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Janet Jenkins/Lisa Miller custody case still not resolved despite judge's orders

The custody case between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller has taken an ugly turn.

From Religious Right Watch:

We've written a few posts in the past about the custody battle being waged between Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, a Vermont couple who had a daughter together in 2002 but eventually separated and soon became locked in a custody fight after Miller moved to Virginia, became a Christian active in Jerry Falwell's church, and sought sole custody of their daughter, Isabella, with the representation of the Falwell-founded Liberty Counsel.

The fight has dragged on for years and earlier this month, a Vermont judge ordered Miller to transfer custody to Jenkins due to the fact that Miller had repeatedly refused to abide by court-ordered custody arrangements.

Miller was ordered to do so by Jan. 1, 2010, but it looks like that might not happen because nobody seems to know where Miller and Isabella are

For those not aware of this case, allow me to recap again.

I covered the following facts here and here:

When they were a couple, Miller and Jenkins decided to raise Isabella together.

When they split,  Miller agreed to let Jenkins have visitation rights. Jenkins was even paying child support.

Miller refused to allow Jenkins to have unsupervised time with Isabella, claiming that Jenkins was harming Isabella. The Virginia Child Protective Services investigated and found the charges to be false.

Since that time, the two have been in and out of court for years (with Miller keeping Isabella away from Jenkins) until the case finally reached its apex in November due to Miller's constant refusal to follow the law:

In a 21-page order, Judge William Cohen granted sole custody of 7-year-old Isabella Miller to her nonbiological but court-recognized parent, Janet Jenkins.

. . . After finding Miller in contempt of court earlier this year for denying Jenkins access to Isabella, Cohen said he decided the only way to ensure the child equal access to both parents was to switch custody.

This case is about a little girl in the middle of an ugly tug of war. It's not about "a cause," "position," or an "agenda."

But it's also not about a mother trying to protect her child.

It's about a woman who refuses to follow the law.

The spin thrown out by Miller and those who support her (i.e.Mat Staver and  the Liberty Counsel who have exploited the case to fundraise) is that she is the "natural mother" of Isabella and Jenkins is merely a stranger trying to steal the child away in accordance to some supposed gay agenda.

I can honestly say that  Jenkins doesn't care about some supposed gay agenda. Her position has been consistent since day one. All she wants is the right to be in Isabella's life, like she and Miller decided when they were together, like they agreed would happen after the split up, and like the courts said she had every right to be.

Miller is ultimately to blame for this entire situation. By first denying Jenkins court ordered visitation with their daughter and now seemingly going into hiding after exhausting every legal avenue, Miller is the one dragging this case to unnecessary lengths.

She is the one responsible for whatever trauma  Isabella is going through  and she is the one who can end this nonsense by doing the right thing.

I pray that she does. Let's all pray that she does.

Related posts:

Jenkins gets full custody

Lesbian mother wins custody case against 'ex-gay' former partner

Stop misrepresenting the Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins custody case

Liberty Counsel uses bad logic to deny lesbian the right to see her child

Mrs. Kramer Vs. Mrs. Kramer

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Anonymous said...

Surely there are similar precedents to draw upon involving hetro couples. Namely, situations where the mother's male partner/husband is not the biological father, and has not adopted the child, but at some point had a supportive relationship to the child as a stepfather.

I can think of anecdotal cases involving people I've known (in which case the former stepfather has no rights), but I'm not a legal scholar so I'd appreciate any info on the matter. Anyone?

BlackTsunami said...

I'm interested in hearing more info on your points. of course there are circumstances here unlike the stepfather case:

in the stepfather case, there seems to be already a child in the relationship. In the case of Jenkins and Miller, a child was born when the two were together and Miller did agree that she and Jenkins would raise the child together.

Rosemary said...

I think the case is more similar to if a hetero couple conceived a child using donated sperm.

Anonymous said...

"...unlike the stepfather case: in the stepfather case, there seems to be already a child in the relationship..." -BlackTsunami

This does happen with hetro couples. The wife may conceive a child in an adulterous relationship, or as Rosemary mentioned, conceived with donated sperm. Some states consider a husband to be the father of all children conceived by his wife during the marriage.

The fact that Jenkins never adopted the child is another legal complication.

BlackTsunami said...

I know. She made the mistake of thinking that she didn't have to since the two was in a civil union. but she may have been correct in thinking that.