PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT - 800-671-1776
Counsel Files Brief At Vermont Supreme Court Arguing That A Vermont Civil
Union Issued To Virginia Residents Is Void And That Virginia Law Controls
Parental Rights Concerning A Minor Child
FL - Liberty Counsel filed a brief with the Vermont Supreme Court on behalf
of Lisa Miller in order to protect her custody rights as the biological
mother of a child born from artificial insemination during her Vermont civil
union with Janet Jenkins. The case pits Virginia law, which does not recognize
same-sex unions, against Vermont law, which recognizes same-sex civil unions.
Ms. Miller is represented by Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel
of Liberty Counsel, and Rena Lindevaldsen, Senior Litigation Counsel.
Miller and Janet Jenkins cohabited in a same-sex relationship for several
years in Virginia. In December 2000, Lisa and Janet traveled to Vermont
and entered into a civil union. Vermont is the only state to authorize civil
unions. They returned to Virginia, and while there, Lisa gave birth to a
child through artificial insemination. Lisa and Janet later moved to Vermont
and lived there for approximately one year before the couple ended their
relationship, in part because of Janet's abuse. Lisa, who has become a Christian,
moved back to Virginia with her daughter. Janet continues to reside in Vermont,
where she filed a complaint to establish "parent-child contact." Lisa filed
an action in Virginia to determine parentage. The Virginia court issued
an order determining Lisa to be the sole parent and refused to recognize
the Vermont order.
brief filed with the Vermont Supreme Court argues that a Vermont civil union
issued to the couple when they were residents of Virginia is void. Vermont
law prohibits the issuance of licenses to residents of another state when
that state does not recognize the Vermont license. When Lisa and Janet obtained
the Vermont civil union, they both resided in Virginia. Virginia does not
recognize same-sex unions or civil unions. Thus, the Vermont civil union
is void. Moreover, a Virginia court refused to recognize the Vermont civil
union and ruled that Lisa Miller is the sole legal parent of the minor child.
The Virginia case is pending at the Virginia Court of Appeals and the Vermont
action is pending at the Vermont Supreme Court. If both states continue
to be in conflict over the validity of a Vermont civil union once the appeals
are exhausted, it is likely the United States Supreme Court will take up
the matter to resolve the dispute.
Staver, stated: "Same-sex unions will inevitably cause havoc among the states
when one state law collides with another. Since children are caught in the
middle of this battle, Congress should move quickly to pass a bill to amend
the United States Constitution to preserve traditional marriage. Let the
people vote and put an end to this madness."