Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stop misrepresenting the Lisa Miller/Janet Jenkins custody case

There has been a case going through the courts for the past couple of years regarding two lesbians and a child they agreed to raise.

Or rather, a lesbian, a "former" lesbian, and a child they agreed to raise.

This is how the religious right organization Liberty Counsel has described the case:

Activist judges in Vermont have declared that a legal stranger is a mommy to another woman's biological child. Now, a Vermont judge will decide whether to order the six year old little girl be stripped from the loving arms of the only mommy she has ever known - her biological mother, Lisa.

Lisa Miller left the homosexual lifestyle and became a Christian when Isabella was 17 months old. Janet Jenkins, who was Lisa's same-sex partner when Lisa gave birth to Isabella, then sought full custody of Isabella, claiming she was a parent even though she was not biologically related to Isabella and never sought to adopt her.

Not only did Vermont create new law from the bench to declare that Isabella has two mommies, but appellate courts in Virginia (the state where Isabella was born and has lived all but 13 months of her life) directed Virginia to fully recognize the Vermont orders giving Janet (who lives in Vermont) liberal unsupervised visitation. In doing so, the courts ignored Virginia's Marriage Amendment and marriage laws declaring all rights arising from same-sex relationships void and unenforceable.

However, like always with religious right groups, the Liberty Counsel omitted several things thereby distorting the case in pursuit of its own agenda.

In December 2008, Newsweek magazine featured a long article about the case. Here are some facts that the Liberty Counsel omitted:

Miller and Jenkins agreed to raise Isabella together.

Jenkins said the reason why she did not file for adoption was because she was told she didn't need to because they had the civil union (the two had married in a Vermont civil union before Isabella was born).

When the two broke up, Miller agreed to allow Jenkins to have visitation rights. Jenkins even paid child support. Miller allegedly began keeping Isabella away from Jenkins. Even now, she refuses to allow her to have unsupervised time with Isabella even though she has been ordered to.

The entire controversy is solely because Miller will not allow Jenkins to have unsupervised time with Isabella. Jenkins mainly won her case due to the Federal Kidnapping Prevention Law.

Miller has claimed she witnessed Isabella engage in disturbing behavior after vists with Jenkins. The claims were investigated by Virginia's Child Protective Services and were deemed "unfounded."

I hope that in the long run, things work out for little Isabella.

But in all honesty, how the Liberty Counsel is framing this case is extremely dishonest. These women agreed to raise the child together. And after they split up, they agreed on visitation, with Jenkins paying child support.

It seems that Miller decided that she didn't like what is going on and took it upon herself to void whatever agreement she and Jenkins had. My opinion is that Jenkins has a right to a say in the raising of her daughter.

The Liberty Counsel does no one justice in the way it attempts tug at emotions with inaccurate connotations of a crying child being ripped from the arms of her mother.

It's a shame that this "Christian group" feels the need to stoop so low. In a case where there should be no villains, the Liberty Counsel is doing its best to fill that role.
More on the Pink Swastika - showing my work

I was reminded by a commentator that if I make a comment that religious right work has been discredited, I should show my proof.

This is true. Yesterday, I said the Pink Swastika, a religious right tome claiming that gays influenced the Nazi Party in Germany, was discredited. However, I neglected to show proof.

Allow me to now:

From the Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Pink Swastika — whose cover has a swastika in place of the "x" in "homosexuality" in the book's subtitle — has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and was thoroughly debunked in a 2005 Intelligence Report article. Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota, said the book was "produced by a right-wing Christian cult and is as correct as flat earth theory."

From that 2005 Intelligence Report:

Written by fundamentalist activists Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams, The Pink Swastika says that rather than being victimized by the Nazis, gay men in Hitler's inner circle actually helped mastermind the Holocaust.

"While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism," write Lively and Abrams. "To the myth of the 'pink triangle' — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the 'pink swastika.'"

Historians agree that this "reality" is utterly false. But many anti-gay crusaders have used the "gay Nazi" myth as proof that gay people are immoral and destructive.