Ex-lesbian turned evangelical homophobe to give child to ex-partner
MONTPELIER, Vt. — The biological mother of a 7-year-old Virginia girl must transfer custody of the child to her former partner, a Vermont family court judge has ruled, adding that it seemed as though the mother had “disappeared” with the girl.
Lisa Miller gave birth to daughter Isabella through artificial insemination 7 years ago after she and former lover Janet Jenkins were joined in a civil union in Vermont. Lisa Miller, Isabella's mother, and Jenkins dissolved their civil union in 2003. Miller moved to Virginia and became a practicing Christian, saying she believes homosexuality is sinful.
Judge William Cohen awarded custody of the girl to Jenkins on Nov. 20 after finding Miller in contempt of court for denying Jenkins access to the girl.
Miller's attorney argued that uprooting Isabella would be difficult for the the child. The lawyer also noted that Jenkins has shown a "disdain" for Miller's Christian beliefs—including the conviction that homosexuality is a sin—and that Isabella shares her birth mother's beliefs.
Miller's attorneys also filed a motion earlier this month asking Cohen to delay his order until an appeal in the Virginia court system — regarding whether that state needed to enforce the Vermont order — was decided.
But in a two-page decision issued by Cohen, the judge said Miller failed to meet the legal burden required to delay the order in part because she has not appeared in court nor spoken with her attorneys about the case for more than a month.
"Ms. Miller has not demonstrated that she is entitled to a stay. … Instead, it appears that Ms. Miller has ceased contact with her attorneys and disappeared with (Isabella). … Such conduct does not show that a stay is warranted," Cohen wrote.
If Miller does not turn over Isabella, the most likely scenerio is that she would be held in contempt of court and a warrant would be issued for her arrest, said Cheryl Hanna, a professor of constitutional law at Vermont Law School.