Civil Unions

Blue Diamond Gallery

A Mennonite pastor convicted of helping a former Vermont woman flee the country rather than share custody of her child with her former same-sex partner has been ordered to prison.

Kalia-law/Wikimedia Commons

A Virginia businessman has pleaded not guilty to charges he helped a woman flee the country with her daughter to avoid sharing custody with her former lesbian partner.

A lawyer for a group that promotes the rights of gays and lesbians says a pastor's conviction in Vermont reinforces the rights of same-sex parents.

Kenneth Miller, a Virginia pastor, was convicted Tuesday for helping a woman flee the country with her daughter in 2009 so she wouldn't have to share custody with her ex-partner, who lives in Vermont.

Gregory Nevins of Lambda Legal says an acquittal could have been a "green light" for people fighting same-sex custody battles to move to states that would support their positions.

The Vermont woman once joined in a civil union with a woman who has been missing almost three years had been expecting a visit with their daughter the weekend after the two left the country.

Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven testified Friday in the trial of Kenneth Miller, the Mennonite pastor from Stuarts Draft, Va., who is charged with helping Lisa Miller and her daughter Isabella flee the country on Sept. 22, 2009.

Jenkins told the jury that when she went to pick up her daughter Isabella three days later, but she wasn't home.

Federal prosecutors in Vermont say a Virginia pastor worked with a number of other people to help a woman flee the United States with her daughter rather than share custody of the girl with the mother's former lesbian partner.

The trial of 46-year-old Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Va., opened Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington. In his opening statement, Miller's lawyer said he will prove his client believed Lisa Miller had full custody of daughter Isabella.

The highest court in Massachusetts has found that civil unions for gay couples in Vermont should be treated as the equivalent of marriage in Massachusetts.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that a couple who enters into a civil union in Vermont must dissolve that union before either can get married in Massachusetts.

The attorneys for a man charged with helping a former Vermont woman flee the country rather than turn custody of her child over to her former lesbian partner say he's eager to go to trial and his client hopes to be acquitted.

Defense attorney Joshua Autry made the comments Tuesday during a pretrial hearing for his client, Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Va.