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.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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