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…”
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Posts for April, 2011

Arrest Made In Miller-Jenkins Custody Case

Jim Burroway

April 22nd, 2011

The Massachusetts-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) has sent out a press release announcing that an arrest has been made in custody case involving former civil union partners Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller, and their daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins. GLAD points to a the Rutland Herald (pay site) article, saying that Timothy David Miller has been arrested in connection with the case.

The Washington Post picks up the thread, reporting that the FBI arrested Miller and accused him of helping Lisa Miller flee to Nicaragua with the couple’s daughter in September 2009. The relationship between Timothy and Lisa Miller is unknown at this time. Miller will appear in U.S. District Court in Burlington, Vermont on Monday April 25.

Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered a Vermont civil union in 2000, and Isabella was born in 2002, with Miller as her birth mother. The couple split up in 2003 when Miller moved to Virginia, became an evangelical Christian and entered the ex-gay movement. She was initially granted custody, but Jenkins was awarded visitation rights. When Miller refused to allow Jenkins to visit their daughter, courts in Virginia and Vermont ordered Miller to surrender custody to Jenkins. Miller went into hiding at the encouragement of ex-gay activists, and failed to appear at a court ordered custody exchange on January 1, 2010.

According to GLAD’s press release, Janet Jenkins issued the following statement from her home in Vermont:

“I’m grateful to everyone in law enforcement for working so hard on finding my daughter, as well as to my attorney, Sarah Star.  I know very little at this point, but I really hope that this means that Isabella is safe and well.  I am looking forward to having my daughter home safe with me very soon.”

Attorney Sarah Star of Middlebury, who has been representing Janet, said, “It is clear that the government has been working hard on this. Janet is very pleased and we are both hopeful that this will be a step in the right direction of bringing Isabella home. At this point we need to let law enforcement do their work, and recognize that there are still steps to go.”

Georgia Supreme Court Overturns Ban On Exposing Children To Their Father’s Gay Friends

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2009

The Georgia Supreme Court threw out a lower court’s order banning children from being “exposed” to their father’s gay partner and friends. Fayette County Superior Court Judge Christopher Edwards issued the ruling as part of the 2007 divorce of Eric Duane Mongerson and Sandy Kay Ehlers Mongerson, who had been married 21 years and had four children. The judge’s visitation order prohibited the three youngest children, aged 8 to 16 at the time, from being in contact with their father’s gay and lesbians friends. The state’s high court threw out that visitation order:

“Such an arbitrary classification based on sexual orientation flies in the face of our public policy that encourages divorced parents to participate in the raising of their children,” Justice Robert Benham wrote.

The Fayette County judge’s prohibition “assumes, without evidentiary support, that the children will suffer harm from any such contact,” Benham wrote. But there is no evidence that any member of the gay and lesbian community has engaged in inappropriate conduct in the presence of the children or that the children would be adversely affected by being exposed to members of that community, he said.