Social & Domestic Issues

A Parent’s Nightmare

Imagine that you are a mother (perhaps you are). You have only one child — your own flesh and blood, conceived with your egg, borne in your body, pushed out into the world by your own exertions.

She is seven and a half years old, and for the last six years you have been her sole caretaker. Single parenthood is tough, but your parents help, and it seems your daughter is doing well. She is happy and well-adjusted. You have worked hard to support her and transmit your values to her. She goes to church with you every week.

Now, someone wants to take her away from you. Her father? No — another woman wants to be her mother. This woman lives in a different state hundreds of miles away. Your daughter once knew the woman, but so long ago that she has no memory of her. The woman has no biological relationship to your child. She has no adoptive relationship to your child. But she wants to take your daughter away from you and be her mother now.

No court has ever found you to be an unfit mother. And yet — unbelievably — the courts of two states have ordered you to transfer custody of your child to this other woman.

What would you do? Do you simply give your child away?

This is not the plot for a Hollywood thriller. This nightmare scenario is the real-life situation that Lisa Miller found herself in recently.

Apparently, Lisa couldn’t give her daughter away. She chose to run instead.

Of course, there is more to the story. But if reading the description above leaves you with a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, it should. This is the brave new world of family law, thanks to the gains made by the homosexual movement.

Lisa Miller’s daughter Isabella was conceived through artificial insemination. Her biological father was an anonymous sperm donor. When Isabella was conceived, Lisa was in a lesbian relationship with a woman named Janet Jenkins. It is Janet who now wants to gain custody of Isabella.

Lisa and Janet first met and began living together in Virginia. They obtained a Vermont civil union while still residents of Virginia, but after Isabella was born they decided to move to Vermont.

Under Vermont law, Janet could have adopted Isabella, but she did not. Janet’s lawyers claim that adoption was not necessary. The husband of a married woman who gives birth to a child is presumed by the law to be that child’s father. Since “civil unions” are supposed to reproduce the rights of civil marriage in every detail, Janet claims that she was automatically a legal parent to Isabella, by virtue of their civil union.

This is but one example of the ways in which same-sex “marriage” and its counterfeits (such as “civil unions”) turn logic and reality on its head. The very legal principle on which Janet rests her claim to Isabella has historically been described as the “presumption of paternity” (i.e., fatherhood). It absolved men and women from having to legally prove what was almost always true anyway—that the father of a child born to a married woman is her husband. Now, the same principle is asserted to support something that can never be true, since a female partner can never be a father. A usually-true legal assumption (the presumption of paternity) has been twisted into a complete legal fiction (and re-named the presumption of “parentage.”)

By September 2003, the relationship had soured. Lisa’s personal testimony indicates that she was feeling drawn back into the Christian faith of her youth, and feeling convicted that her homosexual relationship was not right in the eyes of God. Lisa and her daughter Isabella moved back to Virginia.

Since 2003, there has been a complex round of court filings and appeals in both Vermont and Virginia. Vermont courts supported Janet’s parental rights as a result of the civil union. Initially, a Virginia court ruled that because of that state’s marriage amendment,
any rights arising from a Vermont civil union are null and void in Virginia.

Ultimately, though, the highest court in both states ruled that another law must prevail. The federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, originally designed to prevent a divorced parent from taking a child to another state to secure a more favorable custody ruling, gives precedence to the decisions of the first state in which custody and visitation issues were raised — in this case, when Lisa filed to dissolve the civil union in Vermont. Again, it is highly ironic that a law written (in the context of heterosexual marriage and biological parenthood) to prevent a biological parent from being deprived of their child is now being used to mandate the same thing.

Now, the Virginia Supreme Court has told Lisa she must obey the order of the Vermont courts to turn her daughter over this month or face arrest. No court has ever found Lisa to be an unfit parent. Indeed, the courts do not even claim that it is in Isabella’s “best interest” to be given to Janet. They are simply punishing Lisa for not complying with earlier orders to allow Janet visitation. (Lisa claims that Isabella had severe negative emotional reactions after earlier visits with Janet).

Lisa was told to transfer custody of her daughter on New Year’s Day. She never showed up.

Would you?

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