Another lesbian custody case

Everyone is wondering where Lisa Miller is hiding out with her daughter Isabella to avoid having to relinquish custody of the child to her former partner — and Isabella’s other mother — Janet Jenkins of Vermont.

But out on the West Coast, in Santa Cruz, Calif., Kim T. Smith and Maggie Quale have a custody matter of their own on their minds right now.

According to MercuryNews.com, Smith and Quale are former partners who had twin boys together through artificial insemination. The babies are now 10 months old, and since their birth, Smith and Quale have split up and Quale is now romantically involved with the man who was the sperm donor for the babies, Shawn Wallace.

Smith and Quale never registered as domestic partners with the state, but both Smith and Quale are listed as the babies’ parents on their birth certificates, and the babies have hyphenated last name of Quale-Smith. Smith wants joint custody, but Quale and Wallace say they should get to be the little boys’ only parents.

Family law attorney Deborah Wald, who is representating Smith along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said if Quale and Wallace win the custody battle it would set a “dangerous precedent for lesbians having children with assistance of known sperm donors.”

Quale’s lawyer, Darlene Kemp, says the case has nothing to do with sexual orientation or LGBT rights, and is just a legal dispute between two parties. She says Smith does not meet the legal criteria of a presumed parent.

Well, I am not sure what the legal criteria for being a “presumed parent” are in California. But surely the fact that Smith is listed as a parent on the babies’ birth certificate and the babies share her last name should carry some weight!

I am also wondering when the right-wingers are going to latch onto this case, as they have to the Jenkins-Miller case. Isn’t it funny how the same people who attack us for going against “traditional values” are the people who do their best to keep up from following those values by getting married and loving and caring for our children?

—  admin

Where is Lisa Miller?

Janet Jenkins
Janet Jenkins

Janet Jenkins has been fighting since 2003 to get to see her daughter, Isabella, on a regular schedule. It looked like she was finally going to get her wish when the judge in her ongoing custody battle ruled that Jenkins’ ex, Lisa Miller, would have to hand over custody of the daughter to Jenkins.

The judge issued the order after Miller repeatedly refused to follow court orders granting Jenkins visitation rights.But now Miller has taken Isabella and disappeared. Jenkins said she last saw her daughter in January, and last spoke to her in March.

Isabella was born to the couple in 2002 after Miller was artifically inseminated, and after the two had moved from Virginia to Vermont and entered into a legal civil union. But the women broke up in 2003, and Miller moved back to Virginia, announced she was no longer a lesbian and became an evangelical Christian. At that point, she got hooked up with attorneys from a right-wing religious group and refused to allow Jenkins to see the child.

Jenkins went to court in Vermont and got rulings in her favor. But Miller retaliated by going to court in Virginia, where she got judges ruling in her favor. Eventually though, even the Virginia courts said the Vermont court rulings should stand. But still Miller refused.

Miller was supposed to hand over Isabella to Jenkins on New Year’s Day. But neither mother nor daughter has been seen or heard from in more than a month.

—  admin