Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Liberty Counsel Argues at Vermont Supreme Court Tomorrow Over Same-Sex Civil Union

Tomorrow, Liberty Counsel is scheduled to present oral argument in defense of Lisa Miller and her five-year-old daughter at the Vermont Supreme Court. The case is Miller v. Jenkins and concerns the right of Lisa Miller to decide that Janet Jenkins, her former same-sex partner, should not be declared a parent to Lisa’s child. This is a precedent-setting legal battle between Virginia and Vermont over same-sex unions and the right of fit, biological parents against unrelated third parties.

Lisa is the fit, biological mother of a five-year-old daughter, with whom Janet Jenkins has neither a biological nor an adoptive relationship. Under the Vermont civil union law, the Vermont Supreme Court granted parental rights to Janet, who continues in her lesbian lifestyle. In 2000, while living in Virginia, Lisa and Janet entered into a Vermont civil union. Lisa gave birth to her child through artificial insemination from an anonymous donor, but the relationship ended when Janet became abusive and Lisa became a Christian. In Virginia, where Lisa resides, the state law and constitutional amendment do not recognize any rights associated with same-sex “marriage,” civil unions, or domestic partnerships.

The oral argument is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m. EST and end approximately at 10:55 a.m. EST. The arguments will be recorded and archived at http://www.vermontjudiciary.org/audioindex/index.htm. David Corry, Senior Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, will be presenting the argument and will be available for interviews following the Court’s dismissal in the lobby area of the Supreme Court building.

Next month, Liberty Counsel will be arguing a different aspect of the case at the Virginia Supreme Court. If the Virginia Supreme Court decision clashes with the Vermont Supreme Court, the case will go directly to the United States Supreme Court. The Virginia argument will focus on Virginia’s Marriage Affirmation Act and the state constitutional amendment, both of which declare that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and further state that Virginia does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. That case will also focus on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which is designed to protect one state from being forced to recognize another state’s same-sex union.

This case illustrates that when one state sanctions same-sex unions, other states will be affected. One state should not be allowed to write the marriage policy of another state and export same-sex unions beyond its borders.