Isabella DeniedJun 06, 2008
The Supreme Court of Virginia today (click here for Virginian-Pilot article) decided not to reverse a lower court ruling in the custody battle over Isabella Miller. You'll likely hear same-sex marriage advocates pronounce this as a huge victory, but in fact, the court did not decide on the merits of any law or consider Virginia's marriage amendment. It simply stated that it could not reverse the lower court because of judicial restraint. Here is our official statement, distributed to the media, on the decision:
Statement of Victoria Cobb, President of The Family Foundation of Virginia, Concerning The Virginia Supreme Court Decision in Miller v. Jenkins
We are obviously disappointed by this ruling. We are saddened that a little girl is being forced into a situation that is clearly not in her best interest.
This is obviously a complicated case. Because this decision is narrow and relates only to the specific facts of this case and is not "binding precedent" we are hopeful that any future Isabella's will not have to suffer the same fate. The Court makes it very clear that judicial restraint binds them from ruling on the impact of Virginia's marriage amendment in this case. We respect that decision.
It should be noted that earlier this week the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the "fundamental right" of a biological parent to raise their child without the interference of a third party. The case involved is striking similar. The case, Stadter v. Siperko, involved a lesbian couple, one of whom had a child through artificial insemination. The couple split and the partner who was not the biological parent sued for visitation. The court rejected their claim to "psychological" or "de facto" rights to the child and granted full custody to the biological mother.
Clearly, the legal implications of marriage amendments, defense of marriage acts, and the aggressive actions of same-sex marriage advocates is far from being determined.