Virginia court sides with Vermont in civil union custody battle

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A Virginia appeals court has sided with a court in Vermont in a custody battle between two women who were joined in a civil union here.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia sent the dispute between Janet Miller-Jenkins and Lisa Miller back to a lower court.
The lower court has already claimed Virginia has jurisdiction in the case.

The legal case has drawn national attention because of the possibility that courts in two states could disagree on custody issues involving civil unions. That would set the stage for the issue to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In August, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that Vermont courts, and not those in Virginia, had exclusive jurisdiction over a custody case involving the two women, who had a child while in a civil union relationship.

Jenkins and Miller lived together in Virginia in the late 1990s before obtaining a civil union in Vermont.

Today, Virginia Appeals Judge Jere Willis Junior stressed that his court was not addressing the issue of civil unions.

The judge says the court merely recognized that Virginia must give full faith and credit to Vermont courts under the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act.

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