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Posted at 6:28 PM ET, 01/12/2010

Civil disobedience and a custody fight

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Rosemary Schmidt
Cambridge, Md.

Regarding Petula Dvorak’s Jan. 8 column, “In a custody battle between two mommies, a little girl is lost”:

Ms. Dvorak’s description of the partly Virginia-based custody battle “between two mommies” was shockingly one-sided. The legal climate that paved the way to same-sex parenthood in this instance created the difficult situation these women and an innocent child now find themselves in. It cannot be painlessly rectified. But people can change their minds about sexual preference when confronted with truth. We all make mistakes. I wouldn’t want to be in Lisa Miller’s shoes, having to decide whether to comply with a law that contradicts God’s laws or suffer the consequences.

I wouldn’t want to be in Janet Jenkins’s shoes, either. I’m sure she, too, loves that child. The laws that set us up for such heart-wrenching tangles are what need to be changed. But for now, what’s a mother to do? I can only tell you what I’d do if I were the biological mother. I’d follow my conscience, even if it required civil disobedience. And I’d work with reckless abandon to get such laws reversed while praying for our country.

I don’t advocate carrying civil disobedience to extremes, but I believe in protecting children. In a society where immorality is sanctioned, a thinking individual’s moral obligation overrides his or her legal obligation in rare cases.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | January 12, 2010; 6:28 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Virginia, same-sex marriage  
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Comments

Let's go thru the following:
Couple A and B have a child. The couple breaks up. B, the woman who gave birth to the child, wants to keep the child.
Couple C and D have a child. The couple breaks up. D, the woman who gave birth to the child, wants to keep the child.
Should be B get the child and D not get the child? If D were a lesbian would or should that make a difference?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | January 12, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ms. Schmidt:

In earlier times, people like you invoked "God's laws" to defend slavery. You are a bigot. I don't want you anywhere near my children.

Posted by: hamtech | January 13, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Words fail when trying to come up with a response to bigotry of this level.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | January 13, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

God's Laws? Are you kidding? God did not issue her marriage license, and God did not grant her a divorce. The states did. She knew exactly what she was doing when she entered into her marriage to another woman. Now, she is nothing more than a kidnapper that when caught should be locked up for breaking the law. It makes no difference that she was married to a woman. Marriage is marriage, when it ends it ends. Man/Woman, Woman/Woman, Man/Man. The law shouldn't be different because the makeup of the couple is different. She is a criminal and should be treated like one.

Posted by: Aimhigh2000 | January 13, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"But people can change their minds about sexual preference when confronted with truth."

I thought comments like that only existed 50 years ago. This is atrocious.

Posted by: anon82 | January 13, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of what one thinks of homosexuals or homosexual behavior, this case is not about sexuality. It is about child visitation rights and custody. A court of law determined, initially, that Janet Jenkins should have visitation rights with the child. Visitation has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual behavior. It could just as easily have been a grandparent being given visitation rights. Lisa Miller chose to thumb her nose at the court, and in the process lost primary custody rights over her child (something that would NOT have happened had she behaved like a Christian in the first place instead of using her child as a weapon in a divorce proceeding.) Now she has engaged in a real crime -- kidnapping.

As for the ignorant comments by Rosemary Schmidt, I defy her to point to anything in the Bible that talks about a moral "obligation" to defy a court order about visitation rights for a child. I also defy her to point to any aspect of Lisa Miller's behavior that could even remotely be considered "protecting" the child -- from what? This isn't "civil disobedience" -- it's criminal behavior, pure and simple.

Posted by: TomOsborne1 | January 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The first problem here is that two women decided that one of them would have a child by artificial insemination, meaning that the planned baby will never have her own father present in her life. This is tragic for the child, and bad enough already, but unfortunately is still legal, and it's not bigotry to believe this. Then, the women split up, with the biological mother keeping custody of the child. Whatever happened with these women, such a terrible consequence as was ordered should NOT be suffered by the child to the extent that this ruling punishes the child.

By the way, for those who like name-calling, the word 'bigot' means the following, according to a major online dictionary: "A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. The correct use of the term requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing devotion." Therefore, the name callers are the bigots not the person expressing an honest and reasoned opinion that insults no one, exept in a fevered imagination, perhaps.

Posted by: ercv | January 13, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

If it squeals like a pig....

I take it you have an issue with my use of the word "bigot." I'm happy to share with you number of other words that I can use to convey what I mean.

You and your ilk are on the same moral level as the bus driver who told Rosa Parks to go to the back of the bus. Sexual preference is a God-given attribute that one cannot change.

Perhaps you should consider some remedial lessons in the Golden Rule.

Posted by: hamtech | January 13, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Ms. Schmidt, you may invoke "truth," but you demonstrate a commitment to prejudice over evidence. There is by now a body of rigorous research that shows that children raised by same-sex parents do just fine. There are no significant differences between them and other kids (and they are just as likely to be heterosexual), with one exception: they are likely to be more tolerant. At the same time, however, there is also considerable research that supports the notion that, in the event of separation or divorce, kids do better when the parents maintain amicable relations. Ms. Dvorak was right: absconding with a child for a life on the lam is NOT in the best interest of the child. God help this child and her parents.

Posted by: noahsdad | January 14, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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