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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

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 Virginia: The Las Vegas of gay divorce

John R. Prosser, a judge in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, ruled on August 24th that Vermont's controversial “civil union” law, which affords the same legal benefits as marriage to same-sex couples, is null in Virginia. The case before Judge Prosser involved Lisa Miller-Jenkins and Janet Miller-Jenkins, two lesbians from Virginia who travelled to Vermont to join in a civil union. Lisa became pregnant through in-vitro fertilisation, then the couple split. Janet appealed for visitation rights; Lisa claimed sole parentage.

Judge Prosser, who said that Janet was just a “friend” of Lisa's, rather than a co-parent, ruled that Virginia's Affirmation of Marriage Act, a law passed in July that bans the state from recognising same-sex unions, meant that he could not grant Janet parental rights. The custody battle is continuing in Vermont, and it is unclear how Judge Prosser's ruling will affect that case.

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