Pastor Aided Kidnap in Lesbian Custody Fight
The child custody and kidnapping saga involving Lisa Miller, Janet Jenkins, and Timothy Miller (no relation) is an odd one, involving a born-again ex-lesbian, an evangelical pastor, and Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.
Despite the soap opera-esque details, the story proves that religious conviction can't overcome child abduction laws.
Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins, when a happy lesbian couple, had a daughter via surrogate. When their relationship went sour, they entered a drawn out custody battle.
The court originally awarded Lisa Miller primary custody of their daughter, but found that Jenkins was also a legal parent, granting her visitation rights, reports the Daily Mail.
But Lisa Miller moved to Virginia and became involved with an evangelical Christian group, denouncing homosexuality, reports The New York Times.
She refused to allow Jenkins to see the girl, which led to the court granting Janet Jenkins full custody rights.
Enter Timothy Miller, a Tennessee pastor who, in 2009, was a missionary in Nicaragua.
He's being accused of aiding Linda Miller in the kidnap of her daughter by flying the pair to Nicaragua, where he arranged for housing, reports the Daily Mail.
The house is apparently tied to Jerry Falwell's evangelical Liberty University, which also represented Linda Miller in court.
It's likely that Timothy Miller and Linda Miller are going to argue that they were motivated by religious convictions when kidnapping the girl.
In very limited circumstances, courts have dismissed criminal charges on the grounds that the statute violated the defendant's religious freedom. However, it's unlikely that kidnapping a child to keep her away from her gay parent is likely to fall into that category.
- Christian Network Implicated in Parental Kidnapping Involving Lesbian Partner (ABC)
- Custody Problems (FindLaw)
- International Parental Abduction: Laws and Tips (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.