A family court judge in Vermont has issued a warrant for the arrest of a Virginia woman who disappeared with her daughter after being ordered to turn her over to her former lesbian partner.
Judge William Cohen, during a brief hearing Tuesday at the family court in Rutland County, Vt., ruled that Lisa Miller was in contempt of the court for failing to turn over custody of her daughter to Janet Jenkins by 1 p.m. on Jan. 1.
Cohen had awarded custody of 7-year-old Isabella to Jenkins on Nov. 20, 2009, after Miller repeatedly refused to abide by a court-ordered custody arrangement. The judge said the only way to ensure equal access to the girl was to switch custody. He also said the benefits to the child of having access to both parents would be worth the difficulties of the change.
Miller, however, had 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 prior to her disappearance.
Miller, who had renounced her homosexuality just a few years after entering into a civil union with Jenkins in Vermont in 2000, had requested for a delay of the transfer of Isabella to Jenkins in hopes of a favorable ruling from the Virginia Court of Appeals, which is expected to decide whether Virginia must enforce a custody order and visitation order arising from the dissolved Vermont same-sex civil union.
Cohen, however, turned down the request.
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.
Miller had Isabella through artificial insemination after her civil union to Jenkins and prior to the end of their relationship.
Miller, who became a born-again Christian, alleged that Jenkins was abusive and controlling, and had consequently returned to her home in Virginia, where Isabella was born and where same-sex civil unions are not recognized.
Since last month, Miller has ceased communication with her attorneys.