Sunday, June 03, 2007

LC Asks Supreme Court To Apply Federal DOMA to Protect Parental Rights

Yesterday Liberty Counsel filed a Petition with the United States Supreme Court, asking the Court to resolve a nationwide split in opinions between various state courts concerning the parental rights of fit, biological parents over unrelated third parties. The Petition asks the Court to reconcile two federal laws, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA).
This case concerns the right of Lisa Miller, the fit, biological mother of a five-year-old daughter, to decide that Janet Jenkins, who has no biological or adoptive relationship to Lisa's daughter, should not be declared a parent to Lisa's child. Janet, Lisa's former same-sex partner, has had no regular contact since the child was seventeen months old. The Petition asks the Supreme Court to review the Virginia Court of Appeals' decision that Virginia must enforce a Vermont order declaring Janet a parent of Lisa's biological child.
DOMA allows states to reject parentage and custody orders arising from same-sex relationships, while PKPA requires states to give full faith and credit to another state's custody orders. DOMA should trump PKPA because it was enacted later. A key issue addressed in the Petition is the constitutional right of a fit, biological parent to decide whether a legal stranger should be given parental rights over a biological parent's child.
Lisa Miller is represented by Mathew D. Staver, and law professor Rena Lindevaldsen, who is of counsel with Liberty Counsel.
The Federal Defense of Marriage Act was designed to protect state sovereignty. One state, like Vermont, Massachusetts or California, must not be allowed to force other states to accept same-sex relationships. A child should not be forced to accept an unrelated third party as a parent, when the child already has a suitable biological parent.