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Dean Staver Set to Argue Same-Sex Civil Unions at Virginia Supreme Court

April 16, 2008

On Thursday, April 17, Liberty Counsel is scheduled to present an oral argument in defense of Lisa Miller and her six-year-old daughter at the Virginia Supreme Court. The case is Miller v. Jenkins and concerns the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of Virginia regarding its marriage and domestic relations policy in the face of a Vermont ruling seeking to import same-sex civil unions. This is a precedent-setting legal battle between Virginia and Vermont over same-sex unions and the rights of Lisa Miller, the fit, biological mother of her daughter, against Janet Jenkins, the unrelated third party with no biological or adoptive relationship with the child. The implications of this case are crucial in protecting states’ rights against same-sex “marriage” or same-sex civil unions.

In 2000, while living in Virginia, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered into a Vermont civil union. Miller gave birth to her child in Virginia through artificial insemination from an anonymous donor. Her relationship ended when Jenkins became abusive and Miller became a Christian. In Virginia, where Miller resides, the state law and constitutional amendment do not recognize any rights associated with same-sex unions. Under the Vermont civil union law, the Vermont Supreme Court granted parental rights to Jenkins, who continues in her lesbian lifestyle.

This week’s argument will focus primarily on Virginia’s Marriage Affirmation Act and the state constitutional amendment, both of which declare that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and further state that Virginia does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. The federal Defense of Marriage Act will also be incorporated, as it is designed to protect one state from being forced to recognize another state’s same-sex union.

The oral argument is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM ET at the Virginia Supreme Court in Richmond. Mathew D. Staver, Dean of Liberty University School of Law and Founder of Liberty Counsel, will be presenting the argument and will be available for interviews following the court’s dismissal. If the Virginia Supreme Court decision clashes with the Vermont Supreme Court, the case will go directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Staver commented: “This case is important for the nation to ensure that states remain sovereign regarding the essence of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This case is important for children to guarantee that one state cannot undermine another state’s support for the traditional family. The case is exceptionally important for Lisa Miller and the future of her six-year-old daughter.”

Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America has posted an exclusive interview with Rena Lindevaldsen, Assistant Professor at Liberty University School of Law and “of counsel” for Liberty Counsel, on the CWA website concerning this case. Click here for more information.