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Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, a lesbian couple from Virginia, fell in love and went, like many gay and lesbian couples, to Vermont to enter into a civil union. Virginia does not offer gay marriage or civil unions. Soon, the couple decided to have a baby. Lisa Miller gave birth to a daughter that they planned to raise together. The couple changed their last names to Miller-Jenkins and moved to Vermont where their civil union was binding.

But in November 2003, Lisa Miller decided she was no longer a lesbian and filed for dissolution of the union. She took their daughter, now 4, back to Virginia. A lower court ruled that she was the sole parent and that Janet Jenkins had no parental rights to their daughter.

But today, the Court of Appeals of Virginia ruled that Lisa Miller must obey the custody and visitation agreement laid out by the Vermont Courts. "It is a big deal," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "The fact that the court would apply that rule of law objectively and fairly to a lesbian plaintiff is an enormously important victory for not only Janet Jenkins but for any lesbian or gay parent who may stand in her shoes." Read more about Virginia's ruling on the lesbian custody battle.

November 30, 2006 at 6:54 am
(1) stfgl says:

Geez, what a total bitch! I mean, it’s okay that you decide you’re not gay after all, but siding with a faith-based organization focused on taking our rights away to stop your former partner from seeing her daughter is just so effing wrong! What a traitor to the community, man.

November 30, 2006 at 12:23 pm
(2) nobiever says:

that’s why i never date bisexuals
you never know when they are going to
change. hasn’t every one learned from what happened to Ellen???

November 30, 2006 at 12:36 pm
(3) moniraq says:

I don’t think we should judge all people, whether gay, straight, bi, or trans by the actions of one stupid person. When we do that, we bring ourselves down to the level of the people that assume all gay people are child molesters or pedophiles. Let’s hold people accountable for their own actions and stop generalizing.

November 30, 2006 at 1:51 pm
(4) Tonja says:

There is some promise for the lesbian rights in the courts. Being a parent is your heart, no courts can take that awhile

December 1, 2006 at 2:04 pm
(5) jackie says:

Unfortunately, some people (gay or straight) resort to unsavory means to obtain victory in divorce or custody disputes.

December 4, 2006 at 1:32 am
(6) malisha says:

Look this just shows us that as a community we are finally gaining ground. Being bi myself I am proud that a court finally recognizes that no matter what your sexual affiliation is that a child deserves BOTH parents

March 13, 2008 at 6:32 am
(7) heladoman says:

The poor girl will now have even more confusion… Children were meant for a mom a dad. If gay couples could MAKE children it would a different story…

July 15, 2008 at 9:19 pm
(8) Chad says:

Janet Jenkins doesn’t have any parental rights in relation to the daughter Isabella because she is neither the biological mother nor the biological father. She did not adopt the child neither so she does not have a leg to stand on so she has no legal grounds to demand parental rights to see this child. Furthermore, she and Lisa Miller broke up soon after Isabella turned one so she DOES NOT have a parental relationship with the little girl. For anyone to claim that Janet Jenkins has a “right” to see this child, you are wrong. Under no theory of law does she have a “right” to see this child for the reasons that I mentioned above and I’m sure that this ruling will eventually be overturned.

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