A senior fellow for the conservative lobbying group the Family Research Council (FRC) has suggested that gay parents should not be legally protected against parental kidnappings.
Speaking during Thursday's episode of FRC radio program "Washington Watch," organization president Tony Perkins discussed the issue of parental kidnappings with senior fellow Peter Sprigg. In particular, they discussed the case of Lisa Miller, who ultimately fled the country with her young daughter, Isabella, in order to prevent her former lesbian partner from gaining custody.
Miller gave birth to Isabella via artificial insemination in 2002, but she and her partner, Janet Jenkins, dissolved their Vermont civil union two years later. Miller then moved to Virginia, where she became a born-again Christian who renounced homosexuality.
Miller decided she did not want Isabella to see Jenkins and sued for sole custody in the state, according to The New York Times. But in 2006, after several years of custody battles, a Virginia appeals court finally sided with Jenkins, ruling that under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, Virginia had to defer to Vermont courts, granting Jenkins visitation rights.
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act is a federal law that stops parents from spiriting children away during custody disputes. But Sprigg suggested that because Jenkins is gay, she should not be afforded protection under the law.
Via Right Wing Watch:
It was designed again normally for the context of heterosexual marriages that break up, where there is a divorce and perhaps a custody battle between two parents who are both the biological parents — the biological mother and the biological father — who have divorced each other and it’s designed to prevent someone from taking a child and crossing state lines to another jurisdiction in order to get a more favorable court ruling. So the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act was designed to protect the rights of a biological parent so that they cannot have their rights violated by the other biological parent. But here you have the rights of the biological parent being violated by someone who is not the biological parent at all.
Queerty points out that parenthood has never been solely about biology, however.
"Millions of straight Americans adopt, foster, use surrogates and IV treatments, and otherwise parent kids that are not biologically related to them," Queerty's Dan Avery writes. "Including, we can only assume, members of the FRC."
Meanwhile, the legal proceedings surrounding the Miller-Jenkins battle continue. On March 4, Kenneth Miller, a Virginia pastor who helped Lisa Miller flee the country in 2009, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, according to the New York Times. In 2010, Miller herself was indicted on international kidnapping charges, according to the FBI.
Jenkins has also filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) suit, in which she alleges that Miller, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and the Lynchburg-based Thomas Road Baptist Church helped conceal her daughter's location.
The custody dispute, which dates back to Isabella's birth in 2002, has become a rallying cry for some anti-gay advocates including the outspoken Bryan Fischer, who claimed last August that the kidnapping was justified.