Arrest made in Miller-Jenkins custody battle

Keen News Service, April 22, 2011 – By Lisa Keen

A man accused of helping a former lesbian sneak a child out of the country, violating a court order that the mother turn the child over to her former same-sex partner, was arrested April 18 and will be arraigned in federal court in Vermont on Monday, April 25.

According to court documents, the FBI arrested Timothy David Miller in Alexandria, Virginia, on charges that he aided in the international parental kidnapping of Isabella Miller-Jenkins by one of her two mothers, Lisa Miller.

The FBI statement says Lisa Miller took her child to Mexico in September 2009 “with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights by Janet Jenkins,” her former civil union partner. The statement says Timothy Miller provided assistance with Lisa Miller’s travel from the U.S. to Toronto and then to Mexico City, and provided shelter for her. The Millers then continued on to Managua, Nicaragua, later that month.

A warrant for Lisa Miller’s arrest was issued in April 2010.

Sarah Star, a Vermont attorney representing Jenkins, said Friday that, despite Timothy Miller’s arrest, “We still don’t know where they are now.”

Jenkins issued a statement saying she hopes “Isabella is safe and well” and that she is looking forward to “having my daughter home safe with me very soon.”

But Star said she was not sure what measures might be available to law enforcement officials to attempt to locate and extradite Lisa Miller back to the U.S.

The FBI indicated it has not established whether Lisa Miller is related to Timothy Miller. Timothy Miller reportedly lived in Crossville, Tennessee, and has a wife and four children. But evidence suggests he and the family were living in Nicaragua in November 2008. The Rutland Herald, a Vermont daily newspaper, said Timothy Miller worked as missionary in Nicaragua.

According to one FBI affidavit, the “Lynchburg Christian Academy Payroll Account” provided “multiple payroll checks to Lisa Miller. The Academy is an affiliate of the later Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church.

The FBI documents indicate agents believe Lisa Miller was going by the name Sarah, and that her daughter was being referred to as Lydia.

A Vermont judge transferred full custody of the daughter to Jenkins in November 2009, after Lisa Miller failed to comply with a court order that she allow Jenkins visitation with the child.

The Miller-Jenkins case took on national prominence after Lisa Miller moved from Vermont to Virginia in an effort to use Virginia’s newly enacted law banning recognition of same-sex relationships as leverage in her battle to prevent Jenkins from having visitation. But Virginia courts, including the state supreme court, ruled that the federal kidnapping law trumps Virginia’s “Marriage Affirmation Act” and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Isabella Miller turned 9 this month.

Adoption bill is signed into law

Married couples will have preference when it comes to adopting children under a new measure signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday.

Senate Bill 1188, which was sponsored by Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, would require an adoption agency to give primary consideration to adoptive placement with a married man and woman, with all other criteria being equal.

Agencies are also supposed to consider other factors, including possible placement with relatives, or the wishes of children 12 or older, the law says.

The measure applies to both state-funded and private adoption agencies.

Previously, only Utah had a law requiring priority for married couples, although several other states have bans on adoptions by same-sex couples or by unmarried couples.

Conservative groups and other supporters of the measure said children should have every opportunity to grow up in a household with a mother and father.

But critics said the measure would discourage singles from considering adoption in Arizona.

Tom Mann, chairman of the board for Equality Arizona, a group that supports gay rights, criticized the governor for failing to “demonstrate real leadership.”

“The governor’s action today is harmful to children in foster care and group homes who are seeking a permanent home and the support of a loving, caring family,” Mann said.

But Cathi Herrod, president of the Center for Arizona Policy and a strong advocate of SB 1188, said Monday that the bill was among those that dealt with “critical issues of life, marriage and religious liberty,” and that she was “grateful” for the governor’s support.

The bill goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its current session, which is expected as early as today.

Republic reporter Mary K. Reinhart contributed to this article.

Same-sex adoptions lose ground after Va. board vote

Washington Post – 4.20.11

By Anita Kumar

RICHMOND — The State Board of Social Services has voted overwhelmingly against new adoption rules that some say would allow same-sex couples to adopt in the state for the first time.

In a 7-2 vote Wednesday afternoon, the board opted against the new rules, first proposed by former governor Tim Kaine. In Virginia, only married couples and single men and women, regardless of sexual orientation, can adopt. The proposed changes would require private and faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to allow gay parents to adopt or foster children.

Some members of the board, including Democratic appointees who make up the 5-4 majority, had told The Washington Post on Tuesday they would be guided by advice from Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II. He said in a memo last week that the proposed new adoption rules would violate state law.

Cuccinelli’s position reverses a 2009 decision made by his predecessor, William C. Mims, a former Republican legislator and now a Virginia Supreme Court justice. Mims did not return messages Tuesday.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell had also opposed the proposed regulations.

Board chairwoman Bela Sood, who was appointed by former Democratic governors Kaine and Mark R. Warner, said that despite members’ philosophical disagreements, they had to rely on the attorney general’s views. “We have to depend on them,” she said. “They are very clear and direct.”

The proposed regulations would protect against discrimination on the basis of gender, age, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, family status, race, color or national origin.

Gay rights and adoption advocacy groups have been pressuring McDonnell and the board — writing them, taking out ads and holding news conferences — to approve the regulations.

“No person who wants to become a parent should be forced to leave the state to do so, and no child should be denied a loving home because of such discrimination,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia. told the Post on Tuesday.

By Anita Kumar  |  05:45 PM ET, 04/20/2011

Human Egg Donor Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit Complaint Filed Over Alleged Price Fixing Of Human Egg Donor Services.

Human Egg Donor Services Antitrust Class Action Lawsuit ComplaintApril 13, 2011

 

A class action lawsuit has been filed against American Society For Reproductive Medicine (“ASRM”), Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (“SART”) and Pacific Fertility Center (collectively “Defendants”) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (styled Lindsay Kamakahi v. American Society For Reproductive Medicine, Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology and Pacific Fertility Center, Civil Action Case No. 11-Cv-1781) challenging, as allegedly per se illegal under Section 1 of the Sherman Act, an alleged horizontal price fixing agreement among purchasers of human egg donor services (“Donor Services”) in connection with ASRM’s alleged promulgation of certain rules setting forth the maximum compensation its members should pay for donor services (“Maximum Price Rules”), SART’s alleged adoption of such Maximum Price Rules and SART-member fertility clinics’ alleged agreement to follow such rules, according to the Human Egg Donor Services antitrust class action lawsuit complaint.

The Human Egg Donor antitrust class action lawsuit complaint is reportedly brought on behalf of a putative class of persons (the Plaintiff Class), as follows, unless otherwise excluded:

All women who, at any time during the time period starting four years prior to the filing date of the complaint to the present (the “Class Period”), sold Donor Services for the purpose of supplying AR Eggs to be used for reproductive purposes, within the United States and its territories, to any Defendant Class member.

The Human Egg Donor antitrust class action lawsuit complaint reportedly refers to Donor Services as the time, inconvenience, labor and discomfort incurred by women who agree to supply their own human eggs for assisted ferility and reproductive procedures (“AR Eggs”).

The Human Egg Donor antitrust class action lawsuit complaint is also reportedly brought against a putative class of defendants (the Defendant Class), as follows, unless otherwise excluded:

All SART-member Fertility Clinics and all AR Egg Agencies that agreed to comply with SART/ASRM rules on donor egg compensation and who paid for Donor Services at any time during the time period starting four years prior to the filing date of the complaint to the present.

For more information on the Human Egg Donor Services antitrust class action lawsuit complaint, read the Human Egg Donor class action lawsuit complaint.

French Couple Issues Appeal in Surrogacy Case

April 7, 2011 – New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — A French family detained in Ukraine for trying to smuggle out twins born to a surrogate mother is asking any sympathetic country to grant the children citizenship.

The family was detained last month while trying to take the 2-month-old girls into Hungary.

France does not recognize the citizenship of children born to surrogate mothers and is refusing to issue passports for the girls.

In an appeal issued to news media on Thursday, the family urged any nation in the world that recognizes surrogate births to grant citizenship to the girls.

The girls’ father and his father are free on bail while they await trial in the city of Uzhorod in May. The girls’ French mother has not been charged, but she remains in Uzhorod.

McDonnell weighs proposal that would allow gays to adopt

By Anita Kumar, Monday, April , 8:38 PM Washington Post

RICHMOND — Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is considering whether to try to derail proposed regulations developed by his Democratic predecessor that would for the first time allow gay couples to adopt children in Virginia.

McDonnell has less than two weeks to act on the regulations that would force state-licensed private and church-run agencies to allow unmarried couples — heterosexual or homosexual — to adopt children.

Conservatives, including Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), are lobbying McDonnell to ask the State Board of Social Services to kill the proposal because they do not think it is healthy for gay couples to raise children.

Marshall said that he considers the change part of a “radical anti-family proposal” and that he does not even think single people should adopt, which is currently allowed by law. “Children need a mother and a father,” he said.

Eric Finkbeiner, McDonnell’s policy director, said that the governor was considering his options but in general “supports and encourages” adoption of children by married couples and single parents.

McDonnell alienated gay rights activists shortly after taking office when he excluded sexual orientation from an executive order that barred discrimination in the state workforce, a break in tradition from his Democratic predecessors.

Later, when Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II advised the state’s public colleges to rescind policies that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, McDonnell further angered gay rights activists when, in an attempt to quell the matter, he issued a nonbinding “executive directive” prohibiting discrimination in the state workforce, including on the basis of sexual orientation.

McDonnell must make his recommendation to the State Board of Social Services, a nine-member panel in which all but four members are holdovers from his Democratic predecessor, by April 16.

The social services board has spent more than a year working on developing regulations. It received more than 1,000 responses during a public comment period, which ended Friday.

If the board approves a significantly changed regulation, 25 people could ask that the public comment period be reopened and implementation be delayed.

Kaine, who is expected to run for U.S. Senate next year, proposed the change to the regulations in November 2009, less than two months before he left the office to become the full-time chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Currently, only married couple and single men and women — regardless of sexual orientation — can adopt in Virginia. The proposal, according to the governor’s office, would mandate that gay singles and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups, such as Catholic Charities and Jewish Family Services, to adopt children.

Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, general counsel to Equality Virginia and a former chief deputy attorney general, disputed that the proposed regulations would not allow unmarried couples to adopt. “They’re trying to create problems where none exist,” she said.

Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation, said she contacted the governor’s office and is confident that the administration plans to recommend the removal of the language.

Cobb said her organization, which is against gay couples adopting children, opposes the regulations more strongly on the basis of religious freedom. She said private adoption agencies deserve to have the ability to screen prospective parents based on the agency’s beliefs.

Jeff Caruso, executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic dioceses, said his organization also opposes the new regulations on the basis of religious freedom.

“Faith-based agencies have certain deeply held convictions,” he said. He said it’s important to preserve freedom of conscience.

Marshall said he notified the governor’s office last week when he first heard about the proposal. Finkbeiner said the administration has known about the regulations for the past year but waited to act because the governor generally weighs in after the public comment ends.

Marshall said he also asked Cuccinelli for an opinion on the matter Friday but had not heard back.

New Social App Helps Lesbians Find Sperm Donors

Mombian.com, Friday April 1, 2011

Lesbians seeking to get pregnant now have a new tool at their disposal: Dōnr, a new app for mobile devices that lets women check out the credentials of potential sperm donors. Like Grindr, the social app that helps gay men find potential mates nearby, Dōnr lets lesbians access profiles of men in close proximity to see if they might be suitable candidates for providing genetic material.

“Lesbians have long used cutting-edge science to create their families,” said Elizabeth Bean, the CEO of Dōnr, Inc., herself the mother of twins. “It’s time that the search for sperm donors catches up with the rest of the family creation process and takes advantage of modern technologies.”

After their phone alerts them to the presence of a potential donor, lesbians can use the app’s extensive profile information to check out details such as education, hobbies, health, and whether the man wants contact with the child. They can then connect with the man to talk in person.

Bean says her company will soon be coming out with several related apps: Bāstr, which allows lesbians to find the nearest LGBT-friendly fertility clinic, and Lawyr, which helps them find an attorney to do the legal paperwork necessary to protect their families.