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Lesbian couple's child custody case grows

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MONTPELIER, Vt., Sep 06, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A lesbian couple's battle over child custody has pitted Vermont's liberal state court and Virginia's more conservative court on opposing tracks.

Lisa Miller and Janet Miller-Jenkins lived in Virginia in 2000 but traveled to Vermont to take advantage of the state's civil union law, giving same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married, heterosexual couples.

In 2002, Miller had a daughter by artificial insemination in Virginia. A year later the couple split up, and Miller returned to Vermont with the child.

But in the custody battle since, Vermont's court has granted Miller-Jenkins visitation rights, but a Virginia court has ruled Miller is the child's sole parent and Miller-Jenkins has no legal status as a parent.

Miller, the birth mother, said to her, it was a simple issue.

"It's about ... a biological mother's right to raise her child," she told the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press.

However, the Vermont court won't issue its ruling for months and an appeal is pending in Virginia in what legal experts told the newspaper was a case likely bound for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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