Saturday, May 28, 2005

V State Spitting Contest

Vermont and Virginia are at it. Both claim jurisdiction on a child-custody case with all the trappings of a made-for-TV movie.

The short version is that
  1. a lesbian couple joined in a civil union in Vermont
  2. they returned to Virginia
  3. they had a child by artificial insemination there
  4. they returned to Vermont
  5. love waned and they dissolved their union in Vermont
  6. the biological mom took their kid to Virginia
  7. she sued for full custody
  8. Virginia courts granted that
Now the stew festers and all the rotten ingredients boil to the surface.

In this corner, the ex, the ACLU, Virginia Equity, and LAMBDA want visitation and shared custody. In the other corner, the ever flaming Liberty Counsel and the mom (who claims to have become both straight and born-again) nah nah nah nah nah. Vermont says it was already considering custody and therefore Virginia has no right to even discuss it. Virginia says it doesn't recognize same-sex marriage or even civil unions. Tough bananas, kiddies.

Both corners have filed briefs in the ex's appeal of custody. This will be a battle.

For Virginia, the home of Patrick Henry, the place where the majority of the Civil War was fought, the ideal of states' rights, this is actually a disgrace. To try to tramp on another state that way is a real disgrace.

Check out one side here, the news version here, and Liberty Counsel's version here.

The theater of the Liberty Counsel is always entertaining. Their fabulous Matt Staver paints this not as a custody case or as proof that the reactionaries are nasty, but his statement is, "Same-sex unions will inevitably cause havoc among the states when one state law collides with another. Since children are caught in the middle of this battle, Congress should move quickly to pass a bill to amend the United States Constitution to preserve traditional marriage. Let the people vote and put an end to this madness."

You'd hope for the mom's case that they don't let him argue anything.

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