U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeal in Custody Case

From Equality Virginia:

(Richmond, April 30) ““ Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal in a two-state custody case between a former lesbian couple.

Lisa Miller, a woman living in Virginia and claiming to be “ex-gay,” filed the appeal contesting a Vermont court order requiring that her former partner, Janet Jenkins, be allowed to visit their now four-year old daughter once weekend a month. Janet lives in Vermont.

“By refusing to become involved in this case, the Supreme Court is sending a message that state and federal laws in custody disputes are adequate to protect the best interest of the child,” said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Education Fund’s Executive Director, which has participated in the case on behalf of Janet Jenkins. “It’s heartening to see that the sexual orientation of the parents had absolutely no bearing on this case.”

Originally filing immediately following the implementation of HB751, or the “Affirmation Act” in July 2004, Lisa Miller attempted to prevent Janet from having any parental rights in regards to their daughter born while they were together and the couple had a civil union. The lawsuit contradicted a temporary custody order that had been issued while dissolving their civil union.

Arguing that “forum shopping” is not permissible under state and federal laws to prevent parents from seeking more friendly venues after they already have filed in one court, Janet Jenkins argued her case successfully before both the Vermont Supreme Court and the Virginia Court of Appeals. Lisa filed this latest petition with the U.S. Supreme Court based on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

“Hopefully now, Lisa will abide by the court order and allow Janet visitation rights with their child. Unfortunately, initial reports state that while they have lost nearly every round in this case, Lisa fails to see that the law in this regard is quite clear and she should abide by it,” Mason said. “Their daughter deserves nothing less than two loving parents in her life.”

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