Liberty Counsel's Odd Definition of "Fit Parent"
You really have to marvel at the anti-gay animus that is driving the Liberty Counsel as it continues to argue on behalf of Lisa Miller in court despite that fact that she has kidnapped her daughter and reportedly fled the country so as to avoid complying by court orders.
Yesterday, Miller's case was back in court, this time in front of the Vermont Supreme Court, where LC attorneys continue to argue that Janet Jenkins should have absolutely no access to her daughter:
Miller's lawyers told the Vermont Supreme Court a lower court judge was wrong to have given Jenkins custody of Miller's biological daughter.
"Hoping that they'll reverse that of the trial court withholding that before you take custody away from a biological parent you're required to perform some constitutional analysis," said Rena Lindevaldsen, Miller's lawyer.
The lower court gave Jenkins custody after Miller refused to give Jenkins visitation rights. Miller's lawyers from the Liberty Counsel-- a public interest law firm-- say Jenkins should not have standing as a parent.
"If it were to go to the United States Supreme Court, I would like them to revisit the whole thing, and ultimately protect Lisa's fundamental rights, and indicate that even visitation is an err," Lindevaldsen said.
And I have a feeling that Lindevaldsen just might get her wish to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court, because it doesn't look like the judges in Vermont are buying her arguments:
Miller's lawyer is Rena Lindevaldsen. She says she hasn't heard from her client in months and doesn't know where she is. And she told the state Supreme Court that a Vermont trial judge was wrong to award custody to Miller's former partner.
(Lindevaldsen) You're switching from the first time anywhere in this nation from a fit biological parent that individual's child and switching to somebody who has been declared to be a parent who is not that child's biological or adoptive parent.
But associate Justice John Dooley challenged the lawyer on a number of points. First, Dooley asked: what about men whose children were conceived through reproductive technologies."
(Dooley) "So I take it your position would be the same to a father, to a husband, for whose spouse was impregnated by artificial insemination - he could not ask for custody in a proceeding if they went through a divorce? Is that right?"
(Lindevaldsen) "Unless of course he adopted the child in the meantime."
But Dooley said because the couple had been joined in a Vermont civil union the child did not have to be adopted in order for Jenkins to be considered a legal parent.
Then Chief Justice Paul Reiber weighed in. Reiber brought up the issue of Lisa Miller's contempt of court citations. The Virginia woman faces arrest because she defied a court order and disappeared with the child.
(Reiber) "You said a few moments ago that your client, your referred to her as a ‘fit parent." Hasn't she had seven or eight contempt orders issued against her?"
Even though Miller has been cited for contempt multiple times and ultimately kidnapped her daughter and fled the country, Lindevaldsen and the Liberty Counsel think she is the "fit parent" who deserves sole custody ... simply because Janet Jenkins is gay.
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