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>> now a few interviews from our college series. booktv spoke to several authors and professors at liberty university this month. you can see a few of these interviews every sunday at 1 p.m. eastern and again at 1 a.m. eastern. first we talked to rena lindevaldsen about her book, "only one mommy: a woman's battle for her life, her daughter, and her freedom." >> professor lindevaldsen, who is lisa miller? >> lisa miller is a woman i met almost a decade ago, has been involved in a homosexual relationship, found yourself wanting to leave that
relationship and essential if custody of her biological child who was born during a civil union relationship. she found itself in the midst of what was a case of first impression in the nation battling to keep her child for herself. and away from her former same-sex partner? >> what was the case? >> vermont courts treated it like come in this case to women. so the case came up, not for same-sex relationship and, her daughter at the time was an 18 month old. have been born here in virginia where i'm located. virginia doesn't recognize same-sex relationships. they entered into a civil union, came back to virginia, they move to vermont for a year. the child is 18 months old. as lisa said, god got all of her life and convince her this was not the lifestyle for her or her daughter. she left that relationship, came back to virginia and thought she was filing papers in a montessori deuce -- to dissolve
her union. that began seven years of litigation and vermont over her child. >> how did you get involved? how did you get contacted? >> we are contacted by lisa shortly after she filed suit. liberty counsel was contacted by lisa miller, nonprofit legal organization. we educate, we do policy, but also focus on litigation issues related to traditional family, pro-life and religious liberties. so liberty counsel contacted and she asked us to represent her because she realized pretty quickly and abroad the court was going to be treating her former partner as a parent. to lisa's child and then would be giving visitation and possibly custody to her former partner. she contacted liberty counsel looking for help on what she
argued was her constitutional right as a parent to maintain so custody of her child. that was in 2004. about eight months after she filed suit in vermont. >> why did it take seven years to work its way through the court? >> it took its time, vermont, probably within your issued its first order, temporary order giving visitation to janet, to the former partner. the lisa filed a suit in virginia realizing at that point it was a lost cause for. she filed a separate suit in virginia asking under virginia law to declare the virginia born child to be lisa's child because under virginia law lease is the only mother to the child. so then you things slow down because two states were involved. it was a slow process, a longtime with the custody. the court in vermont was setting precedent that it was creating the law, and admitting it was creating new laws. so it did take a slow path.
the court was cautious, i have to give it credit for that. in forging this new path, but i would have to say that's what took so long and the court was hesitant to completely take her child from her. but in the and ultimately it did after six or seven years of litigation, order lisa to turn her child over to janet. >> the vermont court gave? >> the vermont court did, yes. because vermont saw this as a marriage between husband and wife. if one spouse is not getting visitation to the other spouse, which after a while lisa stopped giving visitation, she argued to protect her child, the vermont court under its own view now, family, was going to do which was order lisa to give up her child because she didn't give visitation anymore. >> where it is lisa no? >> have no idea. the only thing i know is there have been some court proceedings taking place. there's been people arrested, two pastors have been arrested at one point allegedly helped lisa through the country.
>> where they affiliated with liberty counsel? >> they were not. they were mennonite pastors but i know all of this to the affidavits that have been filed in court, and access to court website and through media reports, there's been coverage on it, that one was a mennonite pastor in nicaragua i believe, and he was alleged to have been involved helping her. another was a mennonite pastor here in this country. who was alleged now and facing trial for helping her allegedly flee the country. >> with her child. >> with which a reason those documents, she was at one point in nicaragua but that's all in now as far as what's in the court papers. >> you were a lawyer at the time and the court case came down, and is that when she fled? >> the timing is different. we were waiting for, as you measure come over seven years there are a lot of motions made, switching custody. so one had been made and we are rating for the court to decide. i think at that point a month or so the count quartet and decide.
so she actually, papers say she left left the country left about a month before the judge issued the order switching custody. >> total surprise to you? >> complete surprise to me. we talked a lot. it's no secret. we both went to the same church here in virginia and, so i've spoken to or within a week before she left and she was talking about applying for jobs, visiting family members, and then shortly after that i couldn't reach him or by e-mail or phone, had no way of knowing how to get ahold of her. >> so that's about three years now? >> it is yes, going three years. >> so if she came back to the states, it was discovered in the states illegally, what would happen to her? >> she is right now facing federal criminal charges. >> kidnapping? >> child kidnapping. it is a federal statute, parental kidnapping. so it alleges she took her child to prevent visitation and
custody on a half of the other partner. so she faces up to three years in jail under federal statute for having taken her child. >> if she came back or was arrested here in the state, would you be her lawyer? are you still her lawyer technically? >> we are technically still her lawyer. the vermont court's wouldn't let us get out of representing her. it was hard not being able to contact her. they're still more a years worth of litigation that took place after she left, and we have asked to be removed as accounts and the court in vermont wouldn't let us out. virginia, there's also a pending case that waits for her to return. so we are still listed as her attorney in part because we can't ask permission to withdraw. she is not here. but i don't know what we are do. i guess it would depend on the case. someone else asked us that question and it just depends on the nature of the charges. she's entitled to a defense and we certainly know the case well, but we have to cross that bridge when it happens. >> rena lindevaldsen is your
story, the lisa miller store, "only one mommy," is it about family law, is about homosexuality, what is it about? >> all of that and more. it starts out telling the life story of lisa because i think that's important to understand. from my perspective i know it's not easy for someone to leave homosexuality but there is an element of choice i believe involve. you can find yourself in this lifestyle and have to work to get out of it. she had a very rough childhood and had a series of predictions before she got involved in homosexuality, alcoholism, to cutting to drugs, diet pills type drugs. so this was, she characterized, the last of her addictions that she had. she turned to this. i think it's important to understand one woman's story of what led her to get involved in homosexual. for her it was choice. it was a choice she made to get out of that lifestyle. so i want everyone to hear that story but i want you to hear --
her to do that story. i don't think the church does good enough. we fall short. we don't understand it. so i'm hoping churches will be more involved in reaching out to the struggling with that, and with other issues, welcoming them into the church and helping us see that there's another life choice that they could be making. that it's also meant to wake up america. i know that there's a battle taking place in our schools come into courtrooms and legislatur legislatures, and we need to know what's taking place. i don't think parents and citizens know what's taking place, particularly in our schools. there is an overt act of agenda to teach the young generation that this lifestyle is acceptable and normal, and from my perspective, i think biblically it's not. parents need to know what's taking place thinking they can have informed decisions and get involved to change the course we are on. >> more and more states are allowing gay marriage.
is working its way through the ninth circuit in california. ted olson is supportive of it. is it inevitable that this country at some point will accept gay marriage legally? >> well, if only we were all fortunetellers. i think the path we're on right now suggest that is the case. me being a christian, believing in god's ability to change hearts and minds, i don't know what the future holds. i think it involves a grassroots movement come not just political but a grassroots movement of taking us back to a basic understanding of right and wrong and morals and understand what we believe that if that were to happen, in large measure i don't know that this is inevitable. i think we can stop it but if we continue on the path we are currently on, i think you are right. it is inevitable. >> has the practice of family law grown over the last decade? >> yes. statistically, the docket
increased. what i definitely see where the large expansion is related to issues dealing with same-sex relationships. we're all aware of the litigation takes place, trying to strike down a california law or new jersey, whatever light is. there is a large number of cases taking place in this country were your former same-sex partners. they wanted their relationship recognize that they can get a divorce. they want tempting rights over the former partners child to adoption issues, same-sex adoption in one state, move somewhere else. will florida recognize that? those are just blossoming around the country. >> professor, is lisa miller on the cover of your book? >> that is not lisa miller, no. nor is it janet jenkins or is about. >> models? >> they are all models. >> is that not you other? >> that is a stock photo op in a. >> it looks like you.
what do you teach? >> i teach family law. i've been teaching that for the past six or seven years. i also teach foundations of law which, of course, is what our students explore the original understanding of the constitution, try to understand the concept of limited government, the numerator powers, states' rights, and then we take the issues in the following semester and apply them to current issues that are taking place in a country to see did the courts get right, are they getting it wrong? how can get back onto what i think is the right path but those are the two courses i teach a i teach in writing courses as well. >> where do you go to school? >> i went to law school in new york city, an undergrad with michigan state university. >> why did you come to liberty? >> i would have to say the best answer is god definitely pick this for my life. i wanted to teach, kind of given up on that happening, given the path i had pursued. he made this available to me.
the reason i made it personally is i can't think of a great way to spend my time and training, and send them out there to train our legal culture. >> at what point does the lisa miller story and? >> i don't, i don't know when it is the legally it will in when she is down or she comes back, when isabel is 16, seven, 18 and can't be forced to visit somebody. i don't know when that is going to end. i don't think the lisa miller store, i don't hope that nstic i'm hoping this message and this book in particular resonates with people struggling with same-sex relationships, and what they can do. i don't want it to in which is why i wrote the book so people would take this art into something. >> are you currently working on other cases similar to this at all?