Thursday, April 17, 2008

VA Supreme Court Hears Arguments Regarding Recognition of Same-Sex Civil Unions

Today, Liberty Counsel presented oral argument at the Virginia Supreme Court in a case that highlights the conflict between states that recognize same-sex civil unions and those that do not. The case of Miller v. Jenkins involves a conflict between the laws of Virginia and Vermont. Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, presented the oral argument on behalf of Lisa Miller and her six-year-old daughter, in an attempt to protect Lisa’s parental rights from her former same-sex partner.

Lisa is the fit, biological mother of a six-year-old daughter, with whom Janet Jenkins has neither a biological nor an adoptive relationship. In 2000, while living in Virginia, Lisa and Janet traveled to Vermont and entered into a civil union. Shortly after Lisa gave birth to her child through artificial insemination, Janet became abusive and Lisa became a Christian, ending their relationship.

In Virginia, where Lisa and her daughter reside, the Constitution and its statutes do not recognize same-sex marriage and civil unions. Virginia has one of the strongest laws in the country prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions. However, on March 14th the Vermont Supreme Court granted parental rights to Janet based upon the civil union law as though she were in a marital relationship. If the Virginia Supreme Court decision conflicts with the Vermont Supreme Court, the case will automatically go to the United States Supreme Court.

This case is exceptionally important because the future of Isabella hangs in the balance. Her future will be to either remain with her biological mother, Lisa Miller, or potentially be ripped away from her mom and placed in a lesbian household and paraded as a political trophy of the homosexual agenda. This case is also important because states must also have the sovereign authority to maintain their marriage policy as the union of one man and one woman, while rejecting same-sex unions. Virginia’s Constitution compels the state supreme court to not recognize out-of-state, same-sex marriages and civil unions. But if Virginia loses its sovereignty, then the sovereignty of every other state is put in jeopardy.

The opinion of the court will be posted on the Virginia Supreme Court’s Web site,, once a decision is released.