Gay Custody Battle Headache-Inducing, Heartbreaking


The custody battle over the daughter of a lesbian couple took another turn for the bizarre when it was revealed that the girl is likely in Nicaragua after escaping the country with the aid of one partner’s pastor.

If that sounds confusing, it’s because it is. The couple in question married in Vermont in 2003. A couple of years later, the two had a child via artificial insemination, with one woman carrying the pregnancy and both women serving as parents. Later, the woman who was the child’s biological mother had a spiritual awakening, renounced the “homosexual lifestyle,” and the couple split.

Lisa Miller, the girl’s biological mother and a newly fervent Baptist, was championed by conservatives for her efforts to shield her daughter from homosexuality. A Vermont court had granted her primary custody of the daughter, Isabella Ruth Miller-Jenkins, after Ms. Miller split with her partner, Janet Jenkins, in 2003. But the court also declared Ms. Jenkins to be a legal parent with liberal visiting rights, and Ms. Miller, who had moved with the girl to Virginia, defied repeated orders to permit the visits.
The case took a turn in late 2009, as the Vermont family court, citing Ms. Miller’s noncompliance, shifted primary custody to Ms. Jenkins. Ms. Miller and Isabella, who is now 9, disappeared. A warrant was issued for Ms. Miller’s arrest, and they have not been heard from since.

It now appears that Ms. Miller’s evangelical pastor aided and abetted the woman’s escape from the country. He’s now being charged with helping defy the court-issued custody order.

If anything, this case illustrates a need to have a uniform, federally mandated set of laws governing gay marriage. States making their own laws regarding this can only lead to more cases like that of Ms. Miller and Ms. Jenkins, where one parent can move from state to state and benefit from the time it takes for the courts to figure out what, exactly, to do with cases like this. At the end of the day, the person who is going to suffer most from this clusterfuck is the couple’s daughter.

Pastor Charged In Kidnapping Involving Girl At Center of Custody Case [NYT]

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