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Virginia Citizens Launch 'Protect Isabella Coalition'

Group Asking Legislators to Uphold Virginia's Marriage Laws

Contact: Debbie Thurman, Protect Isabella Coalition, 434-929-8002, 434-258-3424

LYNCHBURG, Va., April 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- A coalition of concerned Virginia citizens has formed in support of Lisa Miller and her 6-year-old daughter, Isabella.

Called the Protect Isabella Coalition, the grassroots effort aims to create awareness of what it labels "judicial tyranny" in the child custody/visitation case involving Miller, Isabella's biological mother, and Vermonter Janet Jenkins, her lesbian former partner. The group has a Web site -- www.ProtectIsabella.com -- and also has produced television and radio public awareness ads.

Jenkins and Miller were joined in a civil union during a trip to Vermont in December 2000. Afterward, they returned to Northern Virginia to live. Miller was artificially inseminated in a Virginia fertility clinic the following year, and gave birth to Isabella in April 2002.

The couple lived in Vermont for just over a year before Miller filed to dissolve the civil union. Renouncing homosexuality and embracing Christianity, Miller relocated with Isabella back to Virginia.

A Vermont judge ruled in 2003 that Jenkins is also Isabella's "mother," allowing her liberal visitations, although she is unrelated and never adopted the child. Her requests for full custody have been denied.

Deeming Jenkins' open lesbian lifestyle a harmful environment for her daughter, Miller began denying her visits with Isabella following a 2004 ruling by a Virginia circuit court judge that Miller was Isabella's sole parent.

Subsequent Virginia appellate court and Virginia Supreme Court rulings have held that Vermont's visitation order must be recognized and registered because of the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. This law, both courts said, supersedes Virginia's Marriage Amendment and Marriage Affirmation Act, as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Liberty Counsel attorneys representing Lisa Miller continue to file appeals aimed at protecting Isabella from the emotionally traumatizing experiences of forced visits with a lesbian women she barely knows. The latest appeal explains that the "Full Faith and Credit" obligation does not require Virginia to enforce the Vermont order.

"The road toward justice has taken a long and winding path, but we believe the courts are getting closer to addressing the core issues in this case," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law. "The people of Virginia have plainly spoken in favor of traditional marriage and have rejected same-sex unions. The Virginia courts must now uphold the Constitution."

The Protect Isabella Coalition is asking fellow Virginians to contact their state delegates and senators and ask them to uphold the state's marriage laws, rein in judicial tyranny and stand up for Isabella.

For more information, visit www.ProtectIsabella.com.