Case Tests Handling Of Gay Relationships

RUTLAND, VERMONT – A court has ordered a woman to pay $240 a month to her former lesbian partner for child support in a case that is testing legal questions on how states differ in their recognition of same-sex relationships.
Last month’s order by the Rutland Family Court comes amid a continuing custody battle between Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller over a 4-year-old girl, Isabella.
Jenkins said Sunday that she has obeyed the child-support order. She said she has sent a check by certified mail, only to have it returned because Miller did not pick it up.
Miller did not immediately return a call for comment on Sunday.
Miller gave birth to the girl, who was conceived through artificial insemination, after the two women were legally joined in a civil union in 2002.
About a year later, Miller renounced her homosexuality, returned to Virginia and denied Jenkins’ demands for visitation rights.
Since then, Vermont courts have ordered visitation rights for Jenkins, who lives in Fair Haven, Vt. However, a Virginia court granted Miller sole parental rights because that state does not recognize same-sex unions.
A Virginia appeals court ruled late last year that Vermont courts have jurisdiction in the case. Lawyers for Miller, who lives in Winchester, Va., have said they will appeal that ruling.
Jenkins said she plans to ask for full custody as part for the final order dissolving the civil union.
from The Associated Press

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