Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Winchester judge rules Virginia law bars custody based on Vermont same-sex union

In the Virginia case involving the custody dispute between two women over custody of a child, a judge in Winchester recognized the birth mother in Virginia as the sole parent, notwithstanding their civil union in Vermont and some kind of prior visitation ruling made by a court in Vermont.

The Richmond paper has this article ("Judge rules that Va. law voids issue of custody for gays," 8/25/04), which says the judge "based his decision on the state's Affirmation of Marriage Act, a law that took effect in July barring the state from recognizing same-sex civil unions." The Winchester paper has this article ("Custody Ruling Favors Frederick Woman," 8/25/04), which quotes the judge as saying, "As far as Virginia is concerned, nothing is taking place in Vermont," and this article ("Advocates on Both Sides Predict Difficult Outcomes," 8/25/04), which says that prior to the ruling, both sides "had dire predictions if Judge John R. Prosser did not rule in their favor on Tuesday" and quotes the Vermont woman's lawyer as saying that "Virginia should be the Las Vegas of gay divorce." The Augusta Free Press has this article ("Ruling seen as step back for gay rights," 8/25/04). The Washington Post has this article ("Vt. Same-Sex Unions Null in Va., Judge Rules," 8/25/04), which quotes one advocacy group spokesman saying the parentage issue is still unresolved in the Vermont case: "In Vermont, the judge still hasn't figured out how Janet could be a parent. Vermont's civil union law does not address parentage."

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