Friday, May 02, 2008

Civil Union

This isn't a subject I typically discuss. It's never affected me or anyone close to me directly (at least to my knowledge). But I heard about a case today that brings this to a new light.

Janet Jenkins and Lisa Miller lived in Virginia which does not allow unions of same-sex couples. So they took a trip to Vermont to have their relationship legalized. Of course, since they lived in Virginia (which has a strong law against these unions) their relationship would still go unrecognized.

Lisa wanted a baby. Together (by one report, other reports say no) they went to the doctor's office to conceive along with the help of Donor 2309. Four months after Lisa delivered a little girl, Isabella, they decided to move to Vermont, where their relationship was legal.

But as happens in many relationships, things turned sour. Lisa moved back to Virginia and took little Isabella with her. This is when things got confusing. Seems that Janet wanted custody. The Washington Post has a LONG history of the case here, and it gets confusing. I hope you'll go read it, but you might need to take notes as you go along.

At the heart of the case is which state's laws apply? Of course, if it becomes messy enough to go to the Supreme Court, the question will be can Virginia establish a law to not recognize Vermont marriages. If a homosexual couple marries in Vermont, does Virginia have to recognize it? In the past, I felt like this was a matter best left to the states, but the supremes may decide others.

Reading the details of the story, I'd bet that the case will be decided on some technicality. There are questions about jurisdiction, improper representation and what the mother signed vs what she understood. I'm afraid the supremes will choose not to get involved with the meat of this case and dodge it instead. But be watching the case of Miller v Jenkins.

* updated spelling

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