By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA, February 18, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Virginia judge yesterday refused to press criminal charges against Lisa Miller for failing to deliver her seven-year-old daughter to her former lesbian partner.
Judge Harrison of the Bedford County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court ruled that because Miller's whereabouts are unknown, it cannot be proven that she is aware of the court order to transfer custody of her daughter Isabella. He scheduled another hearing for May 19.
A source close to the case told LifeSiteNews (LSN) that the judge subpoenaed several witnesses to question them about Miller's whereabouts, but all denied knowledge of her location.
Janet Jenkins, Miller's former lesbian partner, was not permitted to testify by telephone, because no notary was with her to confirm her identity, sources told LSN. Jenkins is being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which expressed disappointment at Harrison's decision yesterday.
Judge Richard Cohen of Rutland County, Vermont, ordered the transfer of custody of Isabella on November 20 of last year, when Miller failed to show up for a hearing. The transfer was to take place on January 1 of this year, but Miller did not appear. Her whereabouts remain unknown.
Miller, a former lesbian who has returned to her childhood faith in Jesus Christ, was in a Vermont "civil union" with Jenkins for several years, during which time she conceived her daughter Isabella through artificial insemination. Miller says she left Jenkins after years of abuse, in 2003, and renounced the lesbian lifestyle.
Although Vermont has no law granting parental rights to civil union partners or even spouses of women who are artificially inseminated, Cohen ruled that Jenkins had parental rights.
Miller fought for several years against unsupervised visits of Isabella with Jenkins, stating that her daughter had shown signs of severe anxiety and trauma. Despite corroborating testimony from several witnesses regarding the negative effects of the visits on Isabella, including at least one psychologist, Judge Cohen continued to order unsupervised visits.
The absent Miller faces another hearing on February 23 in Rutland County, in which Judge Cohen is expected to issue a contempt of court citation for Miller.
Also pending is a decision by a Virgina appeals court on whether or not Virginia can enforce the Vermont court orders. The state of Virginia passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 prohibiting the government from recognizing homosexual "marriages" or "civil unions" contracted in other states. The case was argued on December 9.
Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:
Lesbian Janet Jenkins Begins Media Campaign to Gain Custody of Ex-Partner's Child
Judge Gives Miller 30 Days to Transfer Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover or Face Arrest
Ex-Lesbian Lisa Miller "Disappears" as Date Passes for Court-Ordered Transfer of Daughter to Former Lover
Lisa Miller Ordered to Hand Custody of Daughter to Former Lesbian Lover
Exclusive Interview with Lisa Miller, Ex-Lesbian Fighting for Custody of Own Child against "Civil Union" Partner