Saturday, May 14, 2011

Timo Miller website raising funds for defense of man who helped Lisa Miller evade court order to transfer custody

Timo Miller, the Christian missionary and Mennonite pastor arrested last month (details here)for aiding and abetting the international kidnapping of Isabella Miller-Jenkins by her biological mother, Lisa Miller, has set up a website telling his side of the story and seeking funds for his defense.

A Vermont court ordered a change of custody after Lisa repeatedly defied the court orders providing for visitation between Isabella and her other parent, Janet Jenkins. After the last hearing in the case, but before the court issued its ruling, Lisa fled the country, allegedly with Timo Miller's help. She and Isabella remain in Nicaragua.

The Timo Miller website compares Lisa to a mother goose who will "fight to the death to protect her young." It describes same-sex couples raising children as follows:

Since God has not intended for two men or two women to raise children as a family unit, they can’t produce children on their own. This creates a problem in their agenda to create the perception that homosexual behavior is normal. Thus they resort to adopting children or using artificial insemination from a male donor in the case of a lesbian relationship. Can you imagine being a child growing up in the middle of such an environment?

According to the version of events on the website, Lisa "realized the emptiness of her lesbian lifestyle" and "the danger that lifestyle posed for her young daughter." So she "repented of her immoral ways" and sought to make a new life. "Unfortunately for little Isabella," the website continues, "the lesbian activists decided the situation was an opportunity to further their agenda. They filed lawsuits on behalf of Janet Jenkins (the former lesbian partner) to force visitation rights and eventually gain custody of Isabella in an attempt to prove that their “civil unions” have parental rights."

One of the many things wrong with this version is that Lisa herself filed to dissolve the couple's civil union and requested custody, with visitation rights to Janet. The website describes Lisa's losses in the Virginia appellate courts as those courts "wash[ing] their hands of the situation because of some legal technicalities." Those "technicalities" are the laws explicitly designed to prevent parental kidnapping by giving control over custody litigation to the state that issues the initial court orders. When Lisa filed in Vermont, she gave that court the power to decide Isabella's custody and visitation. That's not a "technicality."

The website puts references to Janet's parental rights in quotes (i.e., "parental") and then says the accusations against Timo Miller beg the question of how "a biologically unrelated individual who has not gone through the adoption process" can even have parental rights. "Most states have specific prohibitions banning homosexual marriage," it continues, "helping to prevent a situation like this from occurring." If this turns out to be his defense, it will get him nowhere. In numerous situations, legal parentage does not require biology or adoption. And laws banning access to marriage for same-sex couples have never been interpreted to prohibit parenting by same-sex couples. (Some states do not allow both partners to be legal parents of their children -- see my recent post about Arizona for an example -- but that's entirely separate from whether they can marry.)

The case summary page on the website concludes: "Will you stand beside Timo as he faces the accusations against him? Will you pray for him and his family? Has God blessed you with the ability to help financially?"

Miller won't be able to build a defense around his religious convictions, but it looks like that's what her's going to try.

7 comments:

Sean said...

Here's a little article I wrote about changing marriage.

http://musings-from-the-middle.blogspot.com/2011/05/lets-abolish-marriage.html

Sean

Vinaigrette girl said...

Timo Miller is a "biologically-unrelated individual" without any parental or other legal rights over young Isabella, so what possible reasoning can he offer for interfering in her life? Eh?

[facepalm]

Logic fail, again.

Nancy Polikoff said...

Well of course he is not talking, since he's been charged with a crime. But I think from the website it is clear that he and all his supporters are motivated by their beliefs that lesbians and gay men should not raise children, something they claim is religiously based. Of course many religions are completely supportive of same-sex couples raising children. And his religious beliefs do not allow him to violate the law.

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The White Man said...

"Timo Miller, the Christian missionary and Mennonite pastor arrested last month (details here)for aiding and abetting the international kidnapping of Isabella Miller-Jenkins by her biological mother, Lisa Miller, has set up a website telling his side of the story and seeking funds for his defense."

A bit of a false start to the article: Timo didn't set up the website. What part of "This article and website was NOT written by Timothy Miller do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Timothy Miller" wasn't quite clear on first reading?

The White Man said...

"One of the many things wrong with this version is that Lisa herself filed to dissolve the couple's civil union and requested custody, with visitation rights to Janet."

As in many cases, what seems to be contradictory testimony is merely each side telling its own version of the same event. So let's put together both sides and get a complete picture:

Lisa: When I became so distressed with the mess I had made of my life that it threatened my sanity, Janet asked me to move out.
Janet: After moving out, Lisa filed to dissolve the union.
Lisa: Janet had become attached to little Isabella and still wanted to see her.
Janet: I drove all the way from Vermont to Virginia to visit Isabella.
Lisa: Janet insisted on taking Isabella home with her and indoctrinating her in her religion and sexual preference.
Janet: Lisa wouldn't let me take Isabella home with me any more.
Lisa: Janet sued for court-enforced custody over my daughter.
Janet: Lisa still refused to cooperate with the court, so I asked for full custody.
Lisa: I knew that I wouldn't be able to raise my own daughter as long as I was under the Vermont court's jurisdiction, and the Virginia court wouldn't give me any protection, so I had to leave the country.
Janet: Lisa broke the law by fleeing the country. No religion gives anyone the right to break a law.
Lisa: My primary responsibility is to my daughter. I had legal custody of her when I left the States, and I will retain custody of her even if it means that I can never return.
Janet: I miss my daughter. My parents miss their granddaughter. She's being raised in a third-world country without adequate medical care or education.
Lisa: Janet's legal maneuvering to deny me the exercise of the right to raise my daughter is what drove my from the country. Her continued threats to take her away keep me from coming back.

The White Man said...

"Miller won't be able to build a defense around his religious convictions, but it looks like that's what her's going to try."

Wrong again. If that was his approach, he wouldn't have hired a lawyer specialising in civil liberty defense--he would have hired a religious scholar.

I'm not on his legal team, but I'd hazard a guess that he's going to build his defense around precedent and case law. That's what you hire a lawyer to do.