08/26/09 — by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
The custody battle between Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins had carried on now for several years, there does not appear to be any end in sight for the moment. On 25 August the ACLU requested that Lisa Miller be jailed for lack of compliance concerning visitation rights for Miller and Jenkins’ daughter Isabella; however, the Virginia courts did not agree with the ACLU. Lisa Miller will not be jailed, but for every day she is not in compliance with the orders of Rutland County Family Court Judge William Cohen she will be fine $100. The recent filings concerning this case are attempting to prevent Virginia officials from enforcing the visitation order issued in Vermont.
Judge Cohen granted visitation rights based upon the civil union of Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins. Shortly after the visitation order was handed down Lisa Miller fled to Virginia in hopes of avoiding the visitation order. Every case so far has ended with the Virginia courts and even the United States Supreme Court siding with Ms. Jenkins. The current contention is that while Virginia officials must recognize the Vermont orders they cannot enforce them. United States law is quite clear on this subject and the visitation order issued in one state must be adhered to in another.
According to the Liberty Counsel Ms. Jenkins has not visited Isabella in Virginia. Nevermind the fact that the Liberty Counsel is part of Liberty University, and is one of the more homophobic institutions in the country. It is unlikely that Ms. Jenkins would be willing to visit such a hostile environment due to the discomfort and animosity that would be on public display in Lynchburg, Virginia. Janet Jenkins has publicly stated that she believes that Isabella’s best interests are not served by being raised within such a homophobic and Fundamentalist Christian environment.
Depending upon the outcome of this new case, which will be decided this fall, Lisa Miller may lose custody of Isabella permanently. Judge Cohen issued a warning earlier this year stating that if Ms. Miller does not comply with this order he will reopen the issue of custody.