A Christian woman in Virginia who was ordered to turn over her daughter to her former lesbian partner in Vermont did not do so by the set deadline, a lawyer for the second woman reported.
Lisa Miller had been ordered by a judge in Vermont to turn over her daughter, Isabella, to Janet Jenkins by 1 p.m. Friday, but has not shown up, Sarah Star, Jenkins’s lawyer, told the New York Times.
Officer Tawny Wright, a Fairfax County police spokeswoman, meanwhile, said the Jenkins family had called the police and that a detective is investigating.
For the time being, the case remains a civil matter, Wright added.
Last week, Vermont Family Court Judge William Cohen, who awarded custody of Isabella to Jenkins on Nov. 20, noted that Miller appeared to have “disappeared with the minor child” and ceased communication with her attorneys.
For the past five years, Miller and Jenkins have been engaged in a custody battle over Isabella, who was conceived when the two women were living together in Virginia. Miller, a born-again Christian, had renounced her homosexuality just a few years after entering into a civil union with Jenkins in Vermont in 2000. Jenkins, on the other hand, is today still an active lesbian and has expressed disapproval in raising Isabella in a Christian home.
While initial litigation in the case of Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins focused only on whether Virginia had to register the Vermont order, the present case centers on whether Virginia must enforce the terms of the civil union order.
Earlier this month, lawyers representing Miller and Jenkins presented their respective arguments before Virginia Court of Appeals, which will decide whether Virginia must enforce a custody order and visitation order arising from the dissolved Vermont same-sex civil union.
Though final arguments were heard Dec. 9, there is no set time frame in which the Virginia Court of Appeals will issue its ruling.
Presently, Virginia’s state law and constitution expressly ban enforcement of any right or order arising from same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Despite this, failure on Miller’s part to turn Isabella over to Jenkins would place her in contempt of the Vermont court and likely result in a warrant for her arrest.
Prior to her disappearance, Miller claimed that Isabella exhibited "violent reactions" to spending with Jenkins and was even forced at one time to bathe with her.
"I do not feel safe leaving my daughter with her, and I believe I have a God-given and constitutional right to raise my child as I see fit," Miller had told Newsweek.
"There is a homosexual agenda at work here, and Isabella is a pawn in their game,” she added.
Despite her claims, Judge Cohen awarded custody of Isabelle to Jenkins, saying last month that the only way to ensure equal access to the girl was to switch custody after Miller repeatedly refused to abide by a court-ordered custody arrangement. He also said the benefits to the child of having access to both parents would be worth the difficulties of the change.
Last week, Cohen turned down Miller’s request to delay the transfer of Isabella to Jenkins.