This morning the Vermont Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a family court trial judge’s order awarding Janet Jenkins sole custody of her daughter Isabella.  This case has gained a great deal of media and legal attention since 2003 when Isabella’s other mother, Lisa Miller-Jenkins, moved to Virginia, became an Evangelical Christian and sought to deny Janet any right or opportunity to visit Isabella, in violation of several court orders.  In late 2009 the Vermont trial court found that it was in Isabella’s best interest that custody be transferred to Janet, and ordered the transfer to take place last January 10th.  Rather than appear for the transfer, Lisa disappeared with Isabella and a warrant has been issued for her arrest.  Her whereabouts remain unknown.  The full story is here. The Vermont Supreme Court opinion is here.

What is most interesting about the Vermont Supreme Court decision (besides its tragic facts) is that the court applied regular family law “best interests of the child” principles to the case, and the fact that the mothers were lesbian and had been in a Civil Union did not provide the court with any reason to treat the case as anything other than an unfortunate custody battle in which one parent behaved very badly – so badly that the court felt justified in transferring custody to the heretofore non-custodial parent Janet Jenkins.

Meanwhile, Janet has barely seen her eight year old daughter Isabella for three years, and its not clear when she will again.

12 comments

  1. Vermont Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Custody Ruling in Lesbian Co-Parent Case http://wp.me/ploC4-Kz

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  3. RT @GenderSexLaw: Vermont Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Custody Ruling in Lesbian Co-Parent Case http://wp.me/ploC4-Kz

  4. RT @GenderSexLaw: Vermont Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Custody Ruling in Lesbian Co-Parent Case http://wp.me/ploC4-Kz

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  8. Vermont Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Custody Ruling in Lesbian Co-Parent Case http://dlvr.it/7xQZn

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  10. RT @sexgenderbody: Vermont Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Custody Ruling in Lesbian Co-Parent Case http://dlvr.it/7xQZn

  11. U.S. S.Ct. refuses appeal in Miller v. Jenkins, Vermont lesbian co-parent custody case http://bit.ly/92qqVc http://wp.me/ploC4-Kz

  12. […] Gender & Sexuality Law Blog » Blog Archive » Vermont Supreme Court 1 Nov 2010. What is most interesting about the Vermont Supreme Court decision (besides its tragic facts) is that the court applied regular family law. – Gender & Sexuality Law Blog » Blog Archive » Vermont Supreme Court […]

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