Ex-gay mother avoids charges in custody battle

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An American woman who refused to give her ex-partner access to their child is not facing criminal charges.

Lisa Miller disappeared with seven-year-old Isabella nearly two months ago after a judge ruled she had to hand the child over to her former civil partner Janet Jenkins.

This week, a Virginia judge said he could not hold Ms Miller in contempt of court because he could not be sure she is aware that she missed a court appearance.

Ms Miller is a Virginia resident, while her former civil partner Ms Jenkins lives in Vermont.

The pair had a civil union ceremony in Vermont in 2000 and their daughter Isabella was born to Ms Miller two years later through artificial insemination.

But the couple split up in 2003 when Ms Miller became an evangelical Christian and renounced homosexuality. She then moved to Virginia.

Under the law, the couple are treated the same as a heterosexual married couple and in December, a Vermont judge found Ms Miller in contempt of court for denying Ms Jenkins access to Isabella.

Ms Miller went missing after a judge ordered her to hand over full custody to Ms Jenkins.

She has become a figurehead for parts of the anti-gay Christian movement, who have claimed the Vermont ruling imposes a political agenda on Virginia.

Ms Jenkins is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

She was not in court on Wednesday.

Her lawyer Rebecca Glenberg asked the judge to issue new charges of criminal contempt and find out where Ms Miller may be hiding, although these requests were not granted.