After suffering through the pro-kidnap propaganda unleashed yesterday by ex-gay activist Debbie Thurman, it’s refreshing today to receive some hard facts — albeit sad ones.
The Rutland Herald Reports this morning:
Janet Jenkins filed a missing person report in Virginia on Wednesday in hopes of finding her 7-year-old daughter, according to her lawyer.
But it remains to be seen whether she will take custody of her nonbiological child Friday when a court order requiring her former lesbian partner, Lisa Miller, to transfer custody of the child takes effect.
“She hasn’t complied with the court’s orders up to this point. I don’t know why she would now,” said Sarah Star, a Middlebury lawyer representing Jenkins.
The newspaper confirms that the Christian Right’s Liberty Counsel knew “for some time” that Miller had absconded with the child and apparently failed to notify authorities.
However, the Herald also reports:
…Police in Falls Church and Fairfax County in Virginia said they had no record of a missing person report for Isabella or of a report filed by Jenkins.”
“I don’t know what we could do at this point anyway,” Fairfax County police spokeswoman Tawny Wright said. “If she’s still in the legal custody of her mom down here, then she’s not missing.”
Normally, a state such as Virginia is required to honor the family laws of the state which has jurisdiction over a family — in this case, Vermont. But in Virginia, Christian fundamentalists assert that their state’s antigay laws preclude cooperation with the enforcement orders of states whose laws do not comply with their own state’s legislated religion-based bigotry.
The Herald continues:
But University of Richmond Constitutional law professor Carl Tobias said he believes Virginia will enforce the Vermont court’s ruling in accordance with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdictional Act — an agreement recognized by every state to enforce each other’s child custody orders.
“I think the judiciary down here is very aware of the Vermont court’s order,” Tobias said. “My sense is there’s not a lot of patience down here for additional appeals. The length of time this case has encompassed has been extraordinary. I think you will see Virginia judges treat (same-sex) cases like heterosexual cases and I think they will be more than willing to enforce them. The system doesn’t work if people don’t comply with court orders. I think judges take that seriously.”
Whether Miller will be located and jailed for contempt of court, or prosecuted and imprisoned for apparent kidnapping — legally speaking, a felony charge of “custodial interference” with a potential 5-year jail sentence — remains to be seen.
Hat tip: Box Turtle Bulletin