Supreme Court Again Declines to Consider Miller V. Jenkins Case

Today, the Supreme Court of the Unites States declined to consider -for the fifth time – a case regarding the custody of a child born to a lesbian couple in Vermont.

The couple, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, had been in a civil union in Vermont and had been ruled legal co-parents by a Vermont court. When the relationship ended in 2003, Miller, the biological mother, moved to Virginia with the couple’s daughter and, later that year, returned to Vermont to dissolve their civil union. In June 2004, the Vermont Family Court awarded the former partner visitation rights in Vermont and Virginia.

After a new law went into effect in Virginia on July 1, 2004, purporting to null and void civil unions along with other partnerships between same-sex couples, the biological mother filed a petition requesting sole custody based on the fact that the new law made the civil union null and void. During this time, Jenkins, still living in Vermont, filed for full custody. The Vermont court heard oral arguments in early August 2004, and in November 2004 the Vermont court held that Jenkins had all the legal rights that any parent would have to a child born into marriage. The Vermont court also found the Miller in contempt because she refused to allow her former partner visitation.

In August 2004, a Virginia court ruled that Virginia had jurisdiction in the case. This decision was appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals. In November 2006, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that Vermont had jurisdiction in this case and that Virginia courts must give full faith and credit to the custody and visitation orders of the Vermont court.

In March 2008, the Vermont Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision to award custody to Jenkins and hold Miller in contempt of Court. Then in June 2008, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeals decision that Vermont has jurisdiction. Miller disappeared with their daughter in late 2008 and failed to turn the child over to Jenkins in January 2009 as ordered by the court.  Miller’s whereabouts are unknown.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Queen Latifah’s French Holiday Getaway With Jeanette Jenkins

OH SNAP — Queen Latifah and girlfriend-trainer Jeanette Jenkins enjoy some time on the French seaside aboard a yacht with Alicia Keys and new husband Swizz Beatz.

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Queerty

—  John Wright

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?

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Facebook page set up for missing girl

Missing: Isabella Miller-Jenkins
Missing: Isabella Miller-Jenkins

When Lisa Miller was ordered to turn custody of her daughter Isabella Miller-Jenkins over to her former partner Janet Jenkins, Miller disappeared with her daughter. Transfer of custody was to take place on Jan. 1.

To help find the girl, two North Texas lesbians, Sheena Patin and Kelsie Orsburn, have set up a new Facebook page called “Help find Isabella Miller-Jenkins.” Isabella has been listed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The ACLU represented Jenkins. On their web site, she said:

Isabella is my daughter. Lisa and I decided together to have a child, and that we would use alternative reproductive technology to do so. We picked out a donor together. I was there with Lisa when she gave birth to Isabella. We gave her both our last names, since we were both her parents. After Isabella was born, Lisa and I cared for her together. We both fed her, played with her, changed her diapers, and loved her.”

Anyone with information regarding Isabella’s and Lisa’s whereabouts should call the Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678 or the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-4800.

—  David Taffet

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.

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Vermont-Virginia custody battle takes another turn

Janet Jenkins has been fighting in court for years to get access to her daughter Isabella, and as of Jan. 1, she will be given custody of the child, thanks to a court order by Judge William Cohen.

Isabella is the biological daughter of Jenkins’ former partner, Lisa Miller, who conceived the child after she and Jenkins moved from Virginia to Vermont to have a civil union. But after the little girl was born, the couple broke up. And Miller decided she was no longer gay and moved, with Isabella, back to Virginia where same-sex unions are not recognized and where she thought the courts would be on her side in the ensuing custody battle.

But Jenkins filed suit in Vermont courts to get visitation rights with Isabella. The Vermont courts sided with Jenkins, and the Virginia courts basically went along with that precedent. But still, Miller has consistently refused to abide by the courts’ rulings and has refused to let Jenkins see the child.

Finally, Judge Cohen got fed up with Miller and has decided that Jenkins will get custody of Isabella, effective Jan. 1.  Jenkins has agreed to visitation for Miller.

ProudParenting.com has more on the story.

—  admin