For four years Lambda Legal has defended Janet Jenkins against her ex-partner who is trying to use Virginia’s antigay amendment to obtain sole custody of their child. The case is now before the state’s highest court.
Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller were joined in a civil union in Vermont and later had a child. When the couple split up, Miller moved with their child to Virginia. She asked a Vermont court to dissolve the union and sort out custody of the child.
The Vermont court granted visitation to Jenkins. Miller filed a new lawsuit in Virginia, using the state’s antigay marriage law to have her declared as the sole parent. The conflicting court orders led a Virginia court to rule in Jenkins’s favor. Miller then took her case to the Virginia Supreme Court.
Lambda Legal, along with Arent Fox LLP and ACLU-VA, is defending Jenkins and her relationship with her daughter, using the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act as the basis of the argument. The act makes it clear that court orders regarding custody and visitation issued in one state must be enforced in other states as well.
“I love and adore my daughter,” said Jenkins, “and I am going to honor my commitment to be a parent. I hope very much that the Virginia Supreme Court will allow me to continue to do that.”
The case is Miller-Jenkins v. Miller-Jenkins.