Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Virginia Judge Refuses to Recognize Vermont Civil Union

Virginia Circuit Court Judge John R. Prosser ruled on Monday that a Vermont civil union may not be registered in the state because the laws of Virginia do not permit civil unions or same-sex marriage. In Miller v. Jenkins, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, while living in Virginia, went to Vermont where they obtained a civil union. Lisa gave birth to a child through artificial insemination but Janet never adopted the child. When the relationship broke down, Janet sought to continue her relationship with the minor child.

A Vermont court awarded Janet “parent-child” contact with the minor child plus visitation, however, a Virginia court declared Lisa to be the sole parent and ruled that Virginia’s Marriage Affirmation Act barred recognition of civil unions. While simultaneous appeals of the rulings were pending, Janet attempted to register the Vermont trial court order that had granted her “parent-child” contact and visitation in Virginia. Registration is the usual first step to enforce an out-of-state visitation order in Virginia.When the family court judge agreed to register the Vermont order, Lisa appealed and the Circuit Court reversed the order. Source:  Family Policy Network, For the complete story, please click here (last visited March 15, 2006, reo).

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