- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 19, 2007

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont judge has dissolved the civil union between two former lesbian partners and awarded custody of their 5-year-old daughter to the Northern Virginia woman who has renounced her homosexuality. The other woman was awarded regular visitation.

For three years, the girl’s biological mother, Lisa Miller, of Winchester, has been fighting efforts by former partner Janet Jenkins to maintain contact with the girl, Isabella.

The courts has consistently ruled in Miss Jenkins‘ favor. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a decision by the Vermont Supreme Court awarding Miss Jenkins visitation rights.

In his decision, Rutland County Family Court Judge William Cohen awarded custody of Isabella to Miss Miller. However, he also granted regular visitation to Miss Jenkins, who lives in Fair Haven, Vt.

Starting in August, Miss Jenkins and Isabella are to spend every other weekend together, alternating between Vermont and Virginia.

“The purpose of this specific initial schedule is to facilitate reunification between [Isabella] and Janet,” Judge Cohen ruled Friday. “The court has suggested that the parties utilize an outside facilitator to determine a long-term parenting time schedule.”

In his order, the judge also wrote that Miss Miller had said she would abide by the visitation order, which came after a trial to end the civil union, akin to a divorce. Miss Miller’s attorney in Virginia, Phil Griffin, did not return a call yesterday for comment.

In 2000, Miss Miller and Miss Jenkins traveled from Virginia to Vermont, where they entered into a civil union. In 2001, Miss Miller conceived a child through artificial insemination while the couple was together. Isabella was born in April 2002. The three moved full time to Vermont in August 2002.

But just over a year later, they separated and Miss Miller returned to Virginia and denied Miss Jenkins‘ demands for visitation rights.

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