A Rutland, Vermont, Family Court judge ruled Friday that “ex-gay” activist Lisa Miller, who absconded with her daughter Isabella in 2004 and violated numerous visitation orders since then, must transfer custody to her ex-spouse Janet Jenkins.
The Rutland Herald reported, “In a 21-page order, Judge William Cohen granted sole custody of 7-year-old Isabella Miller to her nonbiological but court-recognized parent, Janet Jenkins.” The transfer will take effect Jan. 1. Jenkins will allow Lisa to visit Isabella and to take Isabella to church events.
Lisa’s complete loss of custody shocked “ex-gay” activist Debbie Thurman, who favors a supposed right of states to harbor deadbeat parents in the name of Christianity — but it should have shocked no one.
For five years, Miller violated court rulings in Vermont and Virginia that agreed upon Vermont’s jurisdiction in the case and therefore affirmed Jenkins’ visitation rights as a co-parent. Had Lisa not made her daughter a pawn in fundamentalist cultural warfare conducted by Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel, and had Lisa simply permitted visitation as required under law, she would have retained custody.
Unfortunately, Lisa, Thurman, and the Liberty Counsel intend to continue using Isabella as a pawn.
The Herald says the LC’s Mathew Staver plans to fight on two fronts:
appealing Cohen’s decision to the Vermont Supreme Court while continuing a battle in the Virginia Court of Appeals regarding the state’s authority to enforce Vermont orders that conflict with Virginia’s laws.
In short, Thurman holds out hope that a Virginia court will violate nationally agreed-upon protocols for the resolution of family-law disputes and continue to allow the state to harbor Isabella against the wishes of Vermont, which holds jurisdiction over the family.
Carl Tobias, University of Richmond professor of law, told The Herald that he didn’t think appeals courts in either state would overturn the decision.
“They’ve already been to that court a couple times now,” he said referring to Virginia’s court of appeals. “There’s a point at which every court gets tired of people litigating when they have no valid case to make.”