Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Jenkins gets full custody

Timothy Kincaid

November 23rd, 2009

In 2000, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered a civil union in Vermont. In 2002, Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins was born and the family shortly thereafter moved to Vermont to raise little Elizabeth Isabella in an environment that would be supportive of her family.

In the fall of 2003 the couple broke up. They agreed to end the civil union and the court approved the settlement. Janet agreed to pay child support and to visit Isabella regularly.

However, Lisa, who had taken Isabella and moved back to Virginia, fell into an anti-gay religious crowd. She decided that she was no longer a lesbian and that homosexuality was sin and developed hostility to both Janet and “the homosexual lifestyle”.

Then Exodus International stepped in. They got her in contact with Liberty Counsel who immediately made little Isabella’s life a centerpiece for their anti-gay activism.

Since 2004, Miller and Jenkins have been fighting in court over whether Jenkins could have any sort of relationship with her daughter. So far, every decision has ended with the confirmation that Janet Jenkins was entitled to visitation and that Virginia is not going to ignore the terms that the Vermont courts had put in place as a part of the termination of their civil union.

But, at the advice of Liberty Counsel, Miller has sought to thwart the will of the various courts. She simply refused to live up to the visitation terms. Further, she sought to deliberately instill the child with religion-based animus towards Jenkins and even went so far as to accuse her of molestation (social services called the claim “unfounded”).

In August, the Virginia courts opted not to jail Lisa Miller for contempt, but did levy fines of $100 per day for missed visitation. This did not seem to make an impression on Miller. (nvdaily)

“I’m going to continue to take a stand for the Lord, no matter what the cost, because that’s what a Christian is supposed to do,” she said.

But now one judge has had enough. Although Janet Jenkins did not originally request full custody, it appears that this is the only solution that will allow both parents to see the child. (Rutland Herald)

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.

“The court concludes that it is in the best interest of (Isabella) that Ms. Jenkins exercise parental rights and responsibilities,” the judge said. “This court stated that continued interference by Ms. Miller with the relationship between (Isabella) and Ms. Jenkins could lead to a change of circumstances and outweigh the disruption that would occur if a change of custody were ordered.”

Judge William Cohen determined that this would be in the best interest of Isabella.

The switch in custody is to take place New Years Day. Jenkins has vowed to provide visitation to Miller, even allowing her to take Isabella to church events.

But only a fool would assume that this story is over. With advice from the likes of Liberty Counsel, and a sense of religious entitlement, I would be surprised if Miller complied with the order. And even if she does, Liberty Counsel will only have more fodder for their gimme money letters to supporters so the legal appeals are not likely to end before this poor kid is a teenager.

  • December 1997 – Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins meet at an AA meeting in Virginia. They move in together a few months later. They make commitments to each other.
  • July 1, 2000 – Vermont legalizes civil unions.
  • December 19, 2000 – Lisa and Janet travel to Vermont and enter a civil union.
  • July 2001 – Lisa Miller was inseminated with sperm from an anonymous donor. The donor was selected to have traits that matched those of Janet Jenkins.
  • April 16, 2002 – Isabella Ruth Miller Jenkins was born. Jenkins cut the umbilical cord.
  • August 2002 – Lisa, Janet, and Isabella move to Vermont.
  • 2003 – the couple tried further fertility treatments. Lisa did not sustain a pregnancy.
  • Fall 2003 – Lisa takes Isabella and leaves Janet, moving back to Virginia. Janet agrees to pay child support and to visit Isabella regularly.
  • November 23, 2003 – Lisa files in Vermont to dissolve the civil union
  • January 2004 – Janet counterclaims in Vermont for custody
  • March 2004 – Lisa hires a lesbian lawyer and waived her objection to Janet as a parent
  • 2004 – Lisa begins finding religion – specifically Baptist religion – and comes to believe that homosexuality is sin and that she is the sole parent of Isabella and that Janet is unrelated.
  • April 23, 2004 – Lisa faxes a letter to her lawyer saying that she did not agree that Janet was a parent to Isabella. The attorney withdrew from the case.
  • May 2004 – Lisa’s new lawyer tried to rebut the presumption that Janet was a parent. The judge refused to agree and insisted on a visitation schedule.
  • Spring 2004 – Exodus International advises Lisa to hire Liberty Counsel. Lisa makes it increasingly difficult for Janet to see Isabella. Lisa recollection of facts becomes significantly different from that of all other parties.
  • July 1, 2004 – Virginia’s anti-gay marriage prohibits the state from recognizing any same sex relationship (including contracts). Lisa’s lawyers sue in Virginia court to declare her the sole parent and to declare the legal actions in Vermont as void, illegal and unenforceable. Virginia’s Judge Prosser stayed unsupervised out-of-state visitation. Lisa refuses to allow Janet to see Isabella.
  • October 15, 2004 – Judge Prosser declares Lisa the sole parent and invalidates Janet’s claims entirely. Vermont Judge Cohen ruled that Prosser’s order had no legal standing.
  • Winter 2006 – Virginia Court of Appeals (three-judge panel) unanimously sides with Janet Jenkins, reversing Judge Prosser’s decision.
  • August 2006 – Vermont Supreme Court unanimously sides with Janet Jenkins.
  • December 2008 – US Supreme Court refuses to hear the case.
  • August 2009 – Virginia courts assess penalties against Miller for visitation non-compliance.
  • November 2009 – Vermont judge reassigns custody.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0 | TRACKBACK URL

Dawn/FFL
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

So sad to see this take soo long for this child – I’m glad to see that the court sees through the dirty tricks of the religious people and sticks with the law.

Richard W. Fitch
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Here’s is another case where the “Manhattan Declaration” requires of us, LGBT, to vehemently oppose the interference of religious doctrine in civil law. [Please clarify, the “Baptists” in question are SBC???]

Timothy Kincaid
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Richard,

She goes to Falwell’s old church, Thomas Road Baptist. I think they are SBC, but not 100% sure.

Ephilei
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Poor kid. I hope she turns out ok. Perhaps the only good thing of all this is that Isabella will grow up without Lisa’s heterosexism.

Burr
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Hmmm.. I thought it was only the gays who were intent on brainwashing/recruiting kids to their cause. Sure seems like teaching hate is a major priority of Ms. Miller.

Elise
November 23rd, 2009 | LINK

Let the shrieking about “activist judges” begin in 3, 2, 1…

GreenEyedLilo
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

This is not a good outcome. That poor little girl is going to be so confused and conflicted. Besides, it’s not going to be over by a long shot. That said, if Jenkins were a man and Miller did this, it probably would have ended up the same way. It’s pretty obvious that Miller was trying to use the differing laws and mores in Virginia to her advantage.

I am reminded of two women I knew who suddenly “remembered” they were Catholic and found fervent religion when it came to divorce and child custody–one was married to a Vodoun practitioner, the other to a bisexual atheist. In both cases it worked. It’s awful how religion can be used, including how it can be used to find a willing and deep-pocketed ally who loves the idea of screwing any gay person out of any thing. If we’d had universal same-sex marriage (and divorce) across the US, Miller might’ve had to find and fund her own damn lawyer, and eventually to come to some sort of amicable custody-sharing agreement with Jenkins.

I feel so sorry for Isabella it hurts. But it’s so obvious that Jenkins is trying her best for a little girl she loved before she was born. If Miller and the culture warriors had just not been so damned blinded by hate, Isabella’s life would be much happier…and so, ultimately, would Miller’s.

Trovore
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

I’ve got 5 bucks that says Miller abducts the chilled to keep her safe from the “homosexual lifestyle”. Not only that but the Manhattan Project will declare the kidnapping “justifiable” civil disobedience. If we’re lucky Chuck Colson will harbor the fugitive Miller. Then he can be arrested and thrown back in prison in isolation where he belongs.

Chris McCoy
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

If Virginia state law requires that they ignore the laws of Vermont in this case, then the custody change ruling in Vermont would be unenforceable in Virginia, if the child is currently in the custody of Miller.

So which court reigns supreme – Virginia or Vermont? If the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal, which court’s orders remain in effect? The wording is unclear.

sammyseattle
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

@Chris, in 2006 the Virginia Court of Appeals reversed the lower court decision. Their order upholding visition stands. Now physical custody will be at issue under the Vermont. This could be a whole new round of suits but the Virginia Court of Appeals has set a precedent on the previous visitation issue so it doesn’t look good for the Virginia mother.

Timothy Kincaid
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

GreenEyedLilo,

Interesting that you would bring up the comparison to gender disparity in custody.

Some men’s advocates have been following this case and are hoping that any victories made by Jenkins will help them as well. They find the situation very familiar.

SharonB
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

The ruling is entirely appropriate and long overdue. Miller has contumaciously demonstrated that she does not have the best interests of the child Isabella at heart.

Damn the Liberty Counsel to hell.

Don’t ask me how I really feel.

Debbie Thurman
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

Well, I suppose you knew I’d be around to provide a little further background here, Timothy. Not that it will matter much. Folks will believe what they want to or what the media and bloggers have erroneously reported for years about this case.

First, I will address your mistaken comments and then your timeline. Your timeline was pretty decent, but for your editorial insertions.

“However, Lisa, who had taken Isabella and moved back to Virginia, fell into an anti-gay religious crowd.”

Lisa mostly attended her brother’s church in the Winchester, Va. area. She chose to of her own accord, and she chose to return to a faith that had lain dormant in her from her youth. You make it sound as though she was set upon by circling buzzards. Her faith transformation began as she lay in bed on doctor’s orders back in Vermont, awaiting Isabella’s birth. She has shared this openly in her testimony. She attended her brother’s church until last summer, when she moved to Bedford County, Va. That’s when she began attending TRBC.

It’s a cheap shot to even bring Exodus into this at all. But since they apparently have not been beat up enough lately, let’s hit ‘em again for no reason. They got a call, they made a referral. End of story. If you’re going to say Liberty Counsel “made little Isabella’s life a centerpiece for their anti-gay activism,” then you’ll also have to say the same thing for the ACLU, Lambda Legal and GLAD. Gee, it seems Jenkins has had not one but three activist organizations representing her. How’s that work?

“And even if she does, Liberty Counsel will only have more fodder for their gimme money letters …”

There you go again. I guess the other pro-Jenkins organizations are self-supporting and are in no need of donations. Or are their causes/clients worthy and LC’s not?

Timeline:

December 1997 – Miller and Jenkins met at an AA meeting. Anything wrong with that picture??? Two women with drinking problems makes for a wonderfully stable relationship, doesn’t it? Jenkins was also known to have a temper. Even her own father had to restrain her from putting Miller out on the streets after one of her blow-ups. This was a pattern that continued.

March 2004 – “Lisa hires a lesbian attorney.” She hired Deborah Lasher out of the phone book. She had no idea she was a lesbian activist, and Lasher played coy with her, even deliberately screwing up her case in court. Even the Washington Post reported those details.

2004 – “Lisa begins finding religion – specifically Baptist religion – and comes to believe that homosexuality is sin.” She was raised in the church, and always believed homosexuality was sin (like I did, but that didn’t stop me from rebelling either). Ooooh, Baptist cooties again.

May 2004 – “Lisa’s new lawyer tried to rebut the presumption that Janet was a parent. The judge refused to agree and insisted on a visitation schedule.” And court records show it was a “rebuttable presumption.” The judge just arbitrarily shut it down because of — oops — Deborah Lasher’s previous foibles.

Spring 2004 – “Lisa recollection of facts becomes significantly different from that of all other parties.” All other parties? You mean Jenkins. Of course, little Isabella’s recollections meant nothing.

You left out the Virginia Supreme Court also ruling to uphold Vermont’s orders, but with the chief justice stating in the decision he believed a mistake had been made.

And you also neglected to mention that Judge Sharp in Virginia agreed at the August hearing this year that Liberty Counsel could pursue appeals arguing that Virginia laws preclude enforcement of Vermont’s orders. That is why the case is far from over. It reopens the appeals process all the way to SCOTUS.

Both women made a bad choice in bringing a child into the world in an unstable relationship. But it happens all too often. Heck, my mom and dad had my baby brother because they hoped it would make things better. Never happened.

It is unfortunate that Isabella has been caught in the middle of this six-year-long battle. It’s easy for any of us to be armchair quarterbacks and presume it would have been smoother had they tried harder to work out a visitation compromise. It hasn’t been our burden to bear.

Have both women been too rigid? Why could they find no compromise? I’d say they both had control issues. But Lisa believed God had given her this child to raise in accordance with her faith. I don’t think she ever felt she could do that by revisiting her old life through associating with Jenkins and having Isabella endure what she deemed to be potentially harmful circumstances. It was a chain she felt had to be broken. Right or wrong, that’s how she has seen it.

It’s all just been a travesty, with some faults on both sides. My main concern always has been for Isabella. For her to be uprooted now at her age would only mean more emotional devastation for her. How can that be in her best interests?

Timothy Kincaid
November 24th, 2009 | LINK

So, Debbie, you find little fault with my facts; You just don’t like some of my phrasing.

Ok, I’ll accept that.

Debbie, I know that you are in a difficult conundrum at present. I know that you are trying to change your approach to gay people and to be more loving. I respect that decision.

But your habits built over years to attack gay people whenever possible sometimes are just too hard to resist. So now you are here with snide comments designed to negatively portray Janet and to insinuate that the previous attorney deliberately sabotaged Lisa’s case (she’s an “activist” who “played coy”).

You announce that Janet had a temper, that the relationship was unstable, that Lisa’s profound conversion occurred years before they broke up, an so on.

Rather than note the immorality of Lisa choosing to renege on her responsibilities towards Janet and to find a peaceful solution, you justify her decisions because her “feelings” were that she couldn’t “revisit her old life”.

What you are saying, Debbie, is that because Lisa is now ex-gay that therefore this gives her license to break any promises she ever made and to make any gay person’s life as miserable as possible.

This is not a new attitude for ex-gays. In fact, I would have to say that it is very very rare that ex-gays don’t decide that they have the right to treat gay people abominably.

Debbie, I guess you think that you need to defend Lisa Miller for behavior that is reprehensible, simply because she is a fellow ex-gay.

But you do know, don’t you, that this anger and bitterness only serves to make your occasional conciliatory tone seem more of a “love the evil sodomites” program, than a real change in perspective? It talks of love but sounds like animosity and contempt.

Yes, we know the legal possibilities that let this case advance. But please don’t pretend like this is in the best interest of Isabella. This has been – from the moment that it was turned over to anti-gay activists – a cause celebre for those who “fight the homosexual agenda” and anyone impacted by it was, is, and always will be inconsequential to Liberty Counsel.

So my question for you, Debbie, is one that will help you view your own priorities in a way that anyone else would:

If the courts found that it was in Isabella’s best interest to live with Janet rather than Lisa, would your concern for her compel you to support that decision? Or would you still argue that she should live with the ex-gay rather than the Lesbian, regardless of the situation?

Debbie Thurman
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy, I appreciate where you are coming from here. I really do. Thank you for noting that I have done a lot of soul-searching with regard to my views and attitudes toward my gay brothers and sisters. I am not quite the same person I was even a year or six months ago. As I have said elsewhere, I own responsibility for every word I’ve said in the past. But I am not taking an angry, bitter posture in my comments above. Rather they reflect the sadness I feel that this situation ever had to exist in the first place.

I do confess to my penchant for responding to sarcasm with a bit of my own. I’ve been working on that. In this case, it was noting that no one else I am aware of who has written about the Miller-Jenkins case has felt that Lisa’s Baptist affiliation was a particularly horrible thing. You took a swipe at an entire denomination that was unnecessary. And, by the way, in my haste I misidentified Deborah Lashman as Lasher. My bad. Oh, and the details about her involvement in the case I cited were reported in the Washington Post, a left-leaning newspaper that would have had no agenda against her.

Do I wish, on one level, that these two women could have found some kind of workable compromise so as not to have fought this ongoing battle with each other? Yes, I do. I think we all have to be very careful, however, how we presume to know the various nuances that have shaped the responses of both sides. I wish folks would back away from all the political posturing (the case has been a cause celebre for both sides, clearly) and try to look at the merits.

It’s also important to note that Lisa maintains, from the very beginning when she filled out the inadequate paperwork existing in Vermont at the time to dissolve the civil union, that she desired supervised visitation only for Isabella. She wrote that in. She had her reasons, and we will probably never know them all. Jenkins would never agree to that kind of visitation, even when counter-offered on a number of occasions.

I have sensed all along that Miller did not want to personally attack Jenkins. She has repeatedly asked her supporters to pray for her, in fact. Maybe Liberty Counsel brought in some stuff or helped create an image of Jenkins that was a bit monstrous. I don’t know. Or self-righteous Christian just jumped on a bandwagon. You know how that happens sometimes.

Also, I never said that Lisa’s faith transformation came years before she left Janet. I said it began while she was pregnant with Isabella, according to her own telling of her story. She maintains she had a superficial faith prior to that.

My sympathy for Lisa — and my primary sympathy has been for Isabella all along — stems from identifying with her as a mother who would give up her very life to protect her child from something she truly believed was harmful. I sincerely believe that is where Lisa is coming from. Note I said she believes it, not that I automatically agree with all her reasoning from day one. None of us has walked in either of these women’s shoes. I also have sympathy for Jenkins. Isabella is a delightful child. It’s easy to fall in love with her. I can well understand how hurt Jenkins must have been over feeling she was being cut out of Isabella’s life.

It seems to me both women have been unwilling to compromise and have felt the legal system ought to come down on her side exclusively. But that’s not the way life generally works.

Let me make it clear that, while I naturally would have a specific kind of sympathy for Lisa Miller being a fellow “former,” that is not a reason to blindly support her. So you are not correct in assuming that. And if I were to be convinced that Isabella would be better off with the woman the Vermont court has found to be her other parent (though you know I do not accept that because of my faith, and neither does Virginia by law), I would support such a decision. I do not believe that is the case, however.

We can’t go back and rewrite the sad history of this case now. It is what it is, regardless of how it got here. So, based on where it stands now and the fact that Isabella has grown up so far in the care of her biological mother, I do believe a total transfer of custody would do major harm to the child. And I don’t say that because I believe Janet Jenkins is some kind of demonic personage. I don’t know enough about her to make any judgments beyond the fear that she is likely to undermine Isabella’s faith, whether or not she means to, simply because the child will observe her active lesbian life and philosophy, which are antithetical to the faith she has been raised in. Most folks would be surprised to know the depth of spiritual discernment this child has at the tender age of 7. And just the fact that she will be torn away from her mother, with whom she has a very close bond, will be emotionally damaging, perhaps beyond repair. Two wrongs can’t make a right here.

I also can assure you that Lisa has not made any of her decisions lightly. She has agonized over them, as I am sure Judge Cohen must have agonized over making the ruling he finally did. Lisa sat me down one day earlier this year and recounted a long list of ways in which she believes God has intervened in her life and in this case. And it was eye-opening. She has sincerely and prayerfully sought God’s guidance. I cannot fault her for that.

There are no easy answers here, are there? This is a precedent-setting case for both sides. God help all involved.

a. mcewen
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

While I hope things work out for the best, what I don’t feel comfortable with, debbie, is this implication that despite all that Miller did to exacerbate the sitaution, she should be given some type of free pass. You claim that Isabella will be harmed by being taken away from her but why was this situation allowed to get to this point. Christian views aside, why was it so hard for Miller to simply abide by what she originally agreed to do – allow Jenkins to have visitation with Isabella.

There seems to be an attempt on her part to keep Isabella from Jenkins and thereby eliminating the chance of a thriving relationship between the two. Then organizations and entities like the Liberty Counsel try to make it seem as if Jenkins is a stranger with no ties to Isabella and is using her for some phony “agenda.”

The entire thing seems so dishonest to me.

Debbie Thurman
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

Hey, a.m. You are essentially reiterating what I’ve already said. I don’t see how Miller can be given a “free pass.” None of us is in a position to judge what should and should not be excused on the part of either of these women.

I still say it’s inexcusable to flippantly choose to bring a child into an unstable situation. And it was, from the beginning. And that’s a decision they apparently shared, although Lisa seemed to be the one who wanted that more. If that were true, she’d bear more culpability. So, free pass? Not at all. A child is an awfully big consequence of two peoples’ choices.

We also have to be honest and admit we don’t know what kind of relationship Isabella could have had with Jenkins. Would it have been “thriving”? Don’t know.

Civil disobedience is not a thing to be taken lightly. Only God can judge this case fully. The rest of us are going to be left with certain preconceptions, emotional biases and an incomplete picture. Is there a way that God can “win” in all this, as little Isabella has said herself? One can only hope. God, himself, only knows what that will look like.

This case is a reflection of the changing legal landscape in this country. Why was it “allowed” to drag on like this? The courts are set up with checks and balances, and this is the way it works. And the two-state thing only exacerbated it further. Certainly, it should never be easy to go through something as monumental as this. It’s just not cut-and-dried.

Timothy Kincaid
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

Debbie,

Set aside for a moment all of the trappings of what judge said what and which lawyer was or wasn’t a lesbian. The case is actually very very simple.

Two people had a child together with the full intention of being its parents. They broke up. They entered into an agreement in which one would be the custodial parent and the other would provide child support and be granted visitation. Then the custodial parent decided to break the terms of the agreement.

This happens thousands of times each year. Nothing unusual.

The only difference, the ONLY difference, in this case was the reason behind the custodial parent’s decision to break the agreement.

This would not be of interest to anyone if the non-custodial parent was not a Lesbian. Exodus would not have gotten involved. Liberty Counsel would not have taken the case. And no one on the planet would think that Lisa Miller was doing the right thing.

But you defend Lisa.

Let’s consider why. You say that when it comes to Isabella, you “do not believe that is the case” that the court determined what is in her best interest.

But this is not based on a fair judgment of the two women. In fact, you “don’t know enough about [Janet] to make any judgments beyond the fear that she is likely to undermine Isabella’s faith”.

But even in your lack of knowledge, you would exclude Janet as a parent “because the child will observe her active lesbian life and philosophy, which are antithetical to the faith she has been raised in.”

Your criteria in this case, Debbie, is that custody decisions should be based on whether a parent agrees with your religion and on whether they are or are not gay.

These are interesting criteria. But they do not meet the standard of principle. The difference between principle and bigotry is whether we apply situations equally regardless of class-based attributes of the parties involved.

So let’s investigate this further and see if principles are being applied.

I invite you to consider if the tables were turned. What if the lesbian had custody and refused visitation to the conservative Christian ‘former’.

I genuinely believe, Debbie, that if the situation were reversed that you would support the ex-gay. I believe that you would be indignant that the lesbian was lawless and thwarting the best interest of the child.

But deciding outcomes based on criteria like this is not principled, Debbie. It simply isn’t.

And when you take stances that are based in treating gay people less favorably than you do conservative Christian ‘formers’, which you are in this case, it becomes extremely difficult for us to believe that you are approaching us in love.

Because that isn’t love.

I know you see yourself as an advocate for God first. And that’s fine.

But if you have any genuine desire to reach gay people and not be seen as hostile and anti-gay, you need to let go of the presumption of superiority. You need to stop stating that your faith exempts you from seeing reality (such as the fact that both women are the legal parents). You need to recognize that gay people will never give your religious choices veto power over our civil rights.

Nor will we trust anyone who tries to do so.

Debbie Thurman
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

“Your criteria in this case, Debbie, is that custody decisions should be based on whether a parent agrees with your religion and on whether they are or are not gay.

These are interesting criteria. But they do not meet the standard of principle. The difference between principle and bigotry is whether we apply situations equally regardless of class-based attributes of the parties involved.”

That’s a bit oversimplified, Timothy, but we do have the courts (of two states) to work it out still, whether or not we like that or however we feel about the case. Justice is supposed to be blind. But here you have two states with opposing laws and opposing views of the parenthood of Janet Jenkins. I can’t change that. Still, Virginia has gone with Vermont’s jurisdiction so far. So, it really doesn’t matter what I say or do. I’m not in charge.

“I invite you to consider if the tables were turned. What if the lesbian had custody and refused visitation to the conservative Christian ‘former’.”

Do you mean, what if she were the biological mother, as well? Because that’s an important consideration, don’t you think? I don’t know how I would feel unless I had an actual case to consider. I couldn’t automatically presume that the ex-gay “parent” would be the better parent. I’d hope not to have a knee-jerk response.

“But if you have any genuine desire to reach gay people and not be seen as hostile and anti-gay, you need to let go of the presumption of superiority.”

I’m sorry you see it that way. That presumption does cut both ways, you know. I am not here merely to “reach gay people.” I’m here to reach anyone God places in my path and who desires to be reached. God has a big say in that.

I also am not here to “please man.” I don’t cry over the realization that some people are never going to like me, no matter what I do or say. It’s OK. I know who I am. God knows me even better.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Timothy Kincaid
November 25th, 2009 | LINK

Do you mean, what if she were the biological mother, as well? Because that’s an important consideration, don’t you think?

No. I don’t.

You see, Debbie, I believe that the father of a child conceived by artificial insemination is no less his and that he should not lose parental rights in a divorce.

I believe that the mother of a child conceived with a donated egg is no less a parent than the father whose sperm was used.

And I do not make exceptions to that principle based solely on the sexual orientation of the parties.

Happy Thanksgiving

Marlene
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

Debbie — I take great exception to your analogy equating the ACLU, Lambda Legal and GLAD to the Liberty Counsel!

The ACLU has supported some of America’s most bigoted citizens, as well as conservative Christians and members of other faiths — their “agenda” is the Constitution… period!

Lambda Legal and GLAD is focused on fighting for legal rights of all TLBGs against the oppression of heterosexism, prejudice, and bigotry.

The Liberty Counsel is a cabal of conservative “Christian” lawyers whose sole goal is to openly violate the Fourteenth Amendments in fighting *against* the equal rights of TLBG Americans! They’re no better than those sympathetic lawyers who defended the Klan members when they murdered, lynched, and intimidated Americans who were fighting for their equal rights.

They also openly violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as they advocate using their twisted and perverted interpretation of a religious book as the basis of not only secular law, but society as well.

The Liberty Counsel is supported by an indoctrination camp purporting itself to be a university, which was created by one of America’s most vocal bigots, Jerry Falwell. They have about as much validity as a supermarket tabloid.

Priya Lynn
November 27th, 2009 | LINK

Debbie said “I don’t cry over the realization that some people are never going to like me, no matter what I do or say.”.

Alas therein lies the irony of your position – it is precisely what you do and say that’s going to determine whether or not people like you. That you think your behavior is unconnected with how LGBT people feel about you demonstrates just how far removed from reality you are.

Jason D
November 29th, 2009 | LINK

“I’m sorry you see it that way. That presumption does cut both ways, you know. I am not here merely to “reach gay people.” I’m here to reach anyone God places in my path and who desires to be reached. God has a big say in that.”

What presumption cuts both ways?

Yes, we presume to equal citizens and human beings. How dare we.

Emily K
November 29th, 2009 | LINK

Debbie is indeed far removed.

I believe I can shed some light on her way of thought:

For example, she expresses sorrow for the murder of Matthew Shepard. BUT declares that “we don’t have *all the facts* surrounding it.” Which is usually something people say when they want to, in their own minds, justify believing the absurd possibility that Matthew was a drug-addicted sexually aggressive person, aggressively coming on to his murderers, eager for a fix (of either sex OR drugs), making them so uncomfortable that they reacted with extreme violence. She still SAYS that the murder was inexcusable and needlessly brutal– But hey, Matt’s behavior *might have* triggered from within his attackers the (unacceptable) level of violence surrounding what was, by literal definition, his own crucifixion. His murderers, btw, were a foot taller than him and weighed twice as much.

Another example is her laying blame on gays for infecting children with HIV. (I assume, by the way, that she refers only to gay men – anti-gays have an obsession with the almighty phallus for some reason.)

In response to an article she wrote tying gay (men) to pedophilia, insisting they bear the burden of responsibility for HIV infected individuals (especially children), she said “I paint a part of [the gay community] with the brush it merits. … What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” (that last statement was in response to how we gays paint the conservative Christian community with a broad negative stroke.) So while she might not outright *declare* that gays are inherently linked to pedophilia, she prefers to let the “damning evidence” she presents in her writing speak for itself. Once again, saying one thing out loud so that she can believe something with certainty that she might not dare say out loud.

I remember mama
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

I for one, don’t care one wit about who’s gay or ex-gay or who’s Christian or ex-Christian. All I know is that these disparate agendas have only suceeded in ruining a child’s life. You don’t take a child away from the only parent they have ever known, give her to a stranger, and expect everything to be alright.

And, if Lisa Miller has absconded and eventually goes to prison, imagine the harm that is going to do to Isabella. In her child’s mind, all she will know is that “the law” took her from her mother and gave her to a stranger. This child might never feel safe or secure again. Do any of you really imagine that Isabella will love Janet for doing this to her? Do you?

Christopher Waldrop
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

In her child’s mind, all she will know is that “the law” took her from her mother and gave her to a stranger.

You’re giving away your own agenda here, in spite of your insistence that you “don’t care one wit about who’s gay or ex-gay or who’s Christian or ex-Christian.” This child is Janet’s as well, and, as I understand, knows Janet. And there are reasons why “the law” decided it was in Isabella’s best interests to put her with Janet.

Also, in spite of the fact that Thurman and others, including yourself, defend Miller, kidnapping is still a crime. Maybe you disagree with the court’s decision, but can you explain why disagreeing with the decision justifies the act of kidnapping a child?

Priya Lynn
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

“I remember mama” said “You don’t take a child away from the only parent they have ever known, give her to a stranger, and expect everything to be alright.”.

Of course you do, it happens all the time. Children are frequently removed from abusive parents even though that’s the only parents they’ve ever known, and its for the best.

When I was a child my eldest sister became a single mother. She left that baby with our parents and they raised him for a number of years. In the meantime my sister married and decided she and her husband decided they wanted the child back. The came and took the child from our parents and the child screamed and cried because he didn’t know these people who were taking him.

Do you think that child should have stayed with his grandparents or gone with his biological mother?

If Isabella is “taken from the only parent she has ever known, and given to a stranger.” that is entirely Miller’s fault. She had every opportunity to prevent this, but through her selfishness and indifference to others such an unfortunate situation may come about. No way can the courts reward Miller’s criminal actions by allowing her to continue to deny Isabella a relationship with her mother.

And my nephew? It didn’t take long for him to adjust, he grew up to be fine young man loving his parents deeply and never once expressed any concern that he had been “taken from the only parents he had ever known and given to strangers”.

Jason D
December 31st, 2009 | LINK

Iremembermama,

You haven’t been following this case, have you? Nor did you actually read the post at all, did you?

Janet is not some stranger, she is Isabella’s second mother. Isabella was born in 2002, and the couple broke up in 2003. So yes, Isabella did initially have a relationship with Janet. Lisa decided to interfere with that, despite the agreements made when the civil union was dissolved.

Here is a picture from CNN of Janet and Isabella.
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/06/06/same-sex.custody/art.janet.jenkins.jpg

So dry up those crocodile tears. The court didn’t show up in the middle of the night kidnap Isabella and force her into the arms of some stranger. It sounds awfully scary, but it’s nowhere NEAR the truth.

God does not look kindly on those who bear false witness.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.