Dividing the child

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Here's an article over at the Times-Dispatch about a case that I've been following since the beginning.

A former lesbian who now lives in Virginia is battling her ex-partner for custody of the child that the ex-lesbian gave birth to during their civil union created in Vermont. This is a good example of why a federal amendment is the only way to really protect the sanctity of marriage and parental bonds. Someone should point this out to John McCain and the rest of the "states' laws are the best way to go" crowd.

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Maura said:

How is the so-called marriage amendment going to protect parental bonds here? Janet Jenkins is the parent of Isabella Miller-Jenkins. She was at the child's birth and loves the child just as much as any parent does. It's your hateful amendment that would divide this child away from one of her parents.

Lisa Miller is a criminal who disobeyed a court order and disregarded the welfare of her child, plain and simple.

Sophrosyne said:


What makes one a parent?

My uncle was there at my birth and played a large role in my early upbringing and loves me very much... does that make him my parent too? (Per the rational you provided in your comment for Janet Jenkins) Would he have had equal claim to custody as my biological parents?

I believe the bottom line in this situation, as with this entire issue, is that the welfare of a child is best protected when they have a loving mom and dad, not a mom and some lady who was at some previous point in history in a legal same-sex relationship with the mother (a relationship that is unrecognized in this Commonwealth). There ARE differences between men and women beyond the physical equipment below the belt… and there is a reason marriage is the union of the two complementary parts of humanity (creating the full reproductive human organism). A child needs the unique influence of a father and the unique influence of a mother despite the rhetoric of same-sex “marriage” activists.

I cannot understand why you think the Marriage Protection Amendment is hateful, because all it will do is stop the radical redefinition of what constitutes marriage. This is not a civil rights issue (as is often claimed) because it is about what marriage IS, not about WHO can marry (as was the case with horrendous bans on interracial marriage) Today, thankfully, anyone can marry. I could go around calling the DMV hateful because they won’t let me register my SUV as a motorcycle but that doesn’t make it so.

Also… please explain how the Marriage Amendment “would divide this child away from one of her parents”? It seems to me that, in this case, Lisa Miller took her child out of Vermont and ended her same-sex relationship… not some Marriage Amendment that is not yet part of the Constitution. Just curious.

Maura said:

You know, it's probably pointless to respond to you if you'd suggest that I don't understand the difference between a parent and an uncle. Perhaps my brief comment oversimplified the situation, but I assumed that you had rudimentary reading comprehension skills and were familiar with the details in this case.

What makes a parent?

There's no easy definition for what makes a parent, though I suspect you might say that it is as simple as biological contribution to conception. Nevertheless, you certainly must recognize that there are countless non-biological parents out there. Likewise, despite the fact that it clearly makes you uncomfortable, there are also many people who have two parents of the same gender.

But let's look at this particular case. Both parents entered into a civil union, signifying under law their commitment to be a family together. They made plans to conceive a child who would be parented by both parents. Like many parents, they used artificial insemination and donor sperm to conceive the child. One parent carried the child to term while they lived together as a family in the same home. When their child was born, both parents cared for her. They slept in a family bed together. They were a family.

Like far too many parents, unfortunately, they experienced relationship difficulties and decided to break up and live apart. Both parents sought custody of the child they planned and raised together. A judge granted visitation rights to one parent and primary custody to another.

Unfortunately, one parent left the state, shopping around for another state with laws that would be beneficial to her intention to cut one parent out of the child's life completely.

The noncustodial parent in this case is not "some lady". We're not talking about the college roommate of the woman who carried the child to term. We're talking about a mother who was there at the time of conception, throughout the pregnancy, and every night through diaper changings and feedings and night wakings and the first smile and everything else that new parents experience together with their child.

You're being purposefully obtuse if you suggest that the role of an uncle or a neighbor is in any way equivalent. Parents do not have to be legally wed in any state to be parents. Nor do parents have to be of different genders. Many children only have one parent.

The fact that in your opinion it is preferable to YOU that a child have one male parent and one female parent does not make it so.

Your DMV/motorcycle analogy is almost as inappropriate and specious as Santorum's "man on dog" or Senator Box Turtle's comments. You certainly ARE talking about who can marry, in the same way that Loving v. Virginia established a freedom to marry. Before Loving, someone could have used your SAME reasoning to justify a ban on interracial marriage by saying, "We're not stopping anyone from getting married. We're simply defining marriage as being between one man and one woman of the same race. Okay, we acknowledge that people of different races enter into lifelong commitments and become families together, but we think that's just gross and yucky. There is something UNIQUE about a person of one race and a person of another race, and it is universally acknowledged that children should be raised by people of the same race. Therefore, marriage will be defined as a relationship between people of the same race but separate genders."

It took a while for the law to catch up with reality back then. And it's taken longer to recognize the reality of families with same-sex parents. But you WILL find yourself on the wrong side of history, just as those proponents of the ban on interracial marriage did.

By the way, in case you're curious, I have no personal stake in this fight. I'm a single heterosexual woman who may be married or have children one day. I just find it ridiculous that some people think that heterosexual marriages are in any way threatened by two people of the same gender who want to be married. Has the divorce rate gone up in VT, CT, or MA since gay marriages and civil unions were allowed there? No. There's no rioting in the streets. There are just many many families who have more legal protections than before, and that's a good thing for all children.

Sophrosyne said:


No need to insult my comprehension skills, let’s keep it civil. I agree it is not always easy to define parent or even family once the natural (biological) family is removed as the obvious choice (and obviously this is not always due to the willful choice of same-sex “marriage” advocates but can be the result of a tragic death of a natural parent, unsafe environments due to drug addiction, etc). But it should be easy to recognize that the best environment for a child is with a loving mother and father, ideally their biological parents who together in a procreative act of love helped bring the child into the world. Men and women are different and their uniqueness can never be replaced by two moms or two dads. It just isn’t fair to children… if someone want’s to engage in a certain type of sexual behavior that can only harm themselves (through increased potential for STDs, etc) that is one thing. But to willful bring a child into a situation where he or she is denied a mother or a father… and thus harm another life… that is never acceptable.

Your attempt to dismiss the fact that this debate is not over WHO can marry but on what marriage IS seems lacking of any substance. You attempt to circumvent this reality using the false logic presented in favor of banning the horrendous practice of interracial marriage... (using your own argument I could say anyone arguing to keep marriage between two humans (as opposed to a man and another animal) because it is defined as such uses the same logic of the hateful folks who banned interracial marriage- surely that isn’t fair.)

If you honestly believe mankind had it wrong for millennium and that marriage really isn’t the natural (i.e. biological in the sense that it unites the two complementary parts of humanity) union of man and woman then we’ll never be able to have a rational discussion. Anyone looking at this issue with any intellectual honesty will admit that marriage fundamentally is the union of the two sexes, or man and woman… not of any two consenting entities that want to spend their life together. This issue is about redefining what constitutes marriage whether or not you’re willing to admit it.

Also… I suggest you read our other posts on Marriage and Family because if you believe redefining marriage will have no impact on those who do not enter into the desired same-sex “marriages”… you haven’t been paying attention. The religious liberty of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts has already been restricted and people who so much as sign a petition supporting natural marriage are losing their jobs. I suggest you read “The End of Marriage in Scandinavia” by Stanley Kurtz, found here:


This debate should come down to what is best for our children, and I believe that the willful denial of a mother or a father is never in a child’s best interest.

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