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court rules that state cannot interfere with Vermont
court order in lesbian custody battle

Virginia
court rules that state cannot interfere with Vermont
court order in lesbian custody battle

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The Virginia court of appeals ruled unanimously Tuesday that the state cannot interfere in a custody battle between former lesbian partners over their 4-year-old daughter.

The Virginia court of appeals ruled unanimously Tuesday that the state cannot interfere in a custody battle between former lesbian partners over their 4-year-old daughter. The court sided with Janet Jenkins, who asked that a Vermont court order granting her regular visitation rights be enforced. A lower Virginia court had ruled that her ex, Lisa Miller, was the child's sole parent. "This has been a long road for Janet, and now she's that much closer to seeing her daughter again," said Greg Nevins, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal, Jenkins's counsel, in a statement. "The Virginia court of appeals rightly recognized that federal law protects parents against the very thing Lisa Miller did--parents cannot shop around looking for a court to give them sole custody." When the couple, who entered into a civil union in Vermont, split up, Miller moved to Virginia with their daughter and asked a Vermont court to sort out custody issues. When the court ordered that visitation rights be granted to Jenkins, Miller immediately filed a lawsuit in Virginia, attempting to capitalize on the state's ban on same-sex marriage. "We hold that the trial court erred in failing to recognize that the [Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act] barred its exercise of jurisdiction," said the 14-page decision. "Accordingly we vacate the orders of the trial court and remand this case with instruction to grant full faith and credit to the custody and visitation orders of the Vermont court." (The Advocate)

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