Monday, April 30, 2007

DOMA Gets Dope Slap

Today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stretch the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to crush a lesbian mom's hard-won rights.

According to the AP story, it would not take the case of Lisa Miller-Jenkins v. Janet Miller-Jenkins. This was the outgrowth of the couple who moved from Virginia to Vermont, joined in civil union in 2000, had a daughter together two years later, and separated in 2003. Lisa hied back to Virginia, and made the split nastier.

Understandably Janet thought, felt and wanted the case decided in Vermont, where they had the union and legal status. Lisa seemed as nasty as any ex in a straight marriage. She refused to let Janet visit their daughter (who considered them both moms, although Lisa is the biological one). Lisa also says now that she is an ex-lesbian.

She enlisted the infamous anti-gay, anti-marriage equality Liberty Counsel to try to keep the case in Virginia and keep piling it on Janet. This became a spitting contest between the two V states. She lost that one, with Vermont maintaining its order that she share custody. The high court in Virginia agreed, extensively citing the Vermont high-court decision.

The gist of Lisa's argument before the U.S. court is:
Miller says the act conflicts with a more recent federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, on same-sex marriage. That act says no state shall be required to abide by a law of any other state with respect to a same-sex marriage.

In asking the justices to take the case, Miller's lawyers said state courts in Vermont and elsewhere have "eviscerated the protections afforded each state" under the Defense of Marriage Act.

Janet's attorneys pointed to their two-state victories. Also, they make the strong argument that Lisa has been court-shopping by moving to Virginia.

Divorces and their equivalents, and funerals and wills seem to bring out the worse in some people. Good on the Supremes for got falling into the emotional trap disguised as legal argument.

The plug uglies at Liberty report that they'll continue to attack this case from every possible angle in Vermont.

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Peter Porcupine said...

Is there are reason why she didn't legally adopt the child? In a fatal car crash, in so many situations, it could have been crucial.

massmarrier said...

This has all the hallmarks of the nasty divorce. Things went south after the baby, ironically or comically named "Virginia" came onto the scene. The biological mom apparently was already separating and there was no time for the adoption, and no will, before she took the kid Virginia to Virginia.

Reading the proceedings is sad. Then again, a friend gave me a copy of her nasty divorce proceedings from a long time ago. They were man/woman and the kids were teens, but it was likewise nasty.

I fear that a more homosexual couple wed or get civil unions, we'll hear about more who were not the long-term partners in committed relationships. More will be stereotypical as this one is. The wrinkles, of course, relate about how one mom tried to exploit the state and federal laws in her court shopping.

I won't invite her to any parties.