East Coast Custody Battle by Split Lesbian Couple

There is an interesting custody battle brewing in Vermont and Virginia that involves religion, same-sex unions, and artificial insemination.

Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller were joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2001. Miller later moved to Virginia in 2003, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

Problem is, a year earlier Miller (pictured, right) had given birth to a child, Isabella, via artificial insemination. A Vermont family court judge, William Cohen, dissolved the union and gave custody to Miller and visitation rights to Jenkins. Miller, the biological mother, challenged the arrangement, arguing that her child was being raised evangelical and that exposure to Jenkins would go against their religion. But the supreme courts of Vermont and Virginia denied her appeal to prevent Jenkins, the non-biological mother, from visiting.

But Miller still wouldn’t allow Jenkins access to their daughter, according to a ruling by Cohen, and on Nov. 20 of this year he granted Jenkins full custody in order to ensure equal access to the child.

That, apparently, also did not sit well with Miller, who had been found in civil contempt of court. In a  ruling from last week that rejected her latest request to delay Isabella’s transfer, Cohen said Miller and the child were missing: “It appears that Ms. Miller has ceased contact with her attorneys and disappeared with the minor child.”

Here’s the scoop from the Times Argus and Associated Press.

Mathew Staver, Miller’s attorney, declined through a spokeswoman to comment to the AP on the case.

“It is Ms. Jenkins’ intent when she has custody of Isabella to allow as liberal contact as is possible with her other mother,” said an attorney for Jenkins.

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