|Lisa Miller, Isabella, & Janet Jenkins|
BURLINGTON, VT -- In a case action filed Tuesday in U. S. District Court for Vermont, Janet Jenkins filed a civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) suit against the Mennonite pastor who was convicted of abetting international kidnapping helping her former partner kidnap their child Isabella and flee the country.
Jenkins also named her former partner Lisa Miller, the Liberty University School of Law, and the Thomas Road Baptist Church, among others. Both Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist were founded by the late Jerry Falwell and are based in Lynchburg, Virginia.
In Jenkins’ filing, she complains:
[...] against Defendants for intentionally kidnapping and conspiring to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins on or about September 21, 2009, and intentionally causing her continued detention outside the State of Vermont to the present day.
The Plaintiffs also complain against Defendants for violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962 (c) and (d) for participating and conspiring to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Christian Brotherhood through a pattern of past and continuing acts and threats involving kidnapping, money laundering and mail fraud. Plaintiffs further complain against the above named Defendants for conspiring to violate their civil rights in violation of 42 U .S.C. § 1985 (3) and 42 U.S.C. §1986.
Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity
[...] Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.
The suit seeks an immediate return of the kidnapped child to the U.S., as well as actual and punitive damages.
While the anti-LGBT "family values christian" groups have cheered this kidnapping, with Bryan Fischer of the Southern Poverty Law Center listed hate group- the American Family Association- comparing the kidnapping to the freeing of slaves in the 19th century's “Underground Railroad,” the verdict in the pastor's criminal case and this new legal action could hold those behind the kidnapping accountable for their actions as well as bolster parental rights for same-sex couples in custody disputes according to one legal observer.
Jacksonville Florida Lawmakers Reject Adding LGBTQ Protections City’s Human Rights Ordinance
JACKSONVILLE, FL -- The Jacksonville City Council voted down a bill that would have expanded that municipality's human rights ordinance to include protections for its LGBTQ citizens in the areas of employment, housing, and hotel and restaurants.
The 10-9 vote ended three months of at times contentious debate regarding actual discrimination against LGBTQ people in the city. The principal question in the debate that should the city add sexual orientation to the list of protected groups, and how much enforcement power the city should have in cases of discrimination against the LGBTQ persons.
Jacksonville's human rights ordinance already bans discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, national origin, age or disability.
The Florida Times Union newspaper noted that the decisive vote Wednesday came from City Councilman Johnny Gaffney whom had previously had supported the bill when it went through committees. But he voted against and made no public remarks giving his reason for switching his support.
Heading into the meeting, eight council members, including Gaffney, had voted for the bill in committee or declared their support for it. Eight council members had voted against it.
The undecided council members were Richard Clark, Reggie Brown and Bill Bishop. On Wednesday, Clark and Bishop voted for the bill. Brown opposed it. If not for Gaffney’s change, that would have made it 10-9 in favor of the bill.
City Councilman Warren Jones filed a bill in May adding sexual orientation. He later amended the bill by deleting language that gave protection based on “gender identity” and “gender expression.” Equality Florida, a group that advocates anti-discrimination laws, objected to the watered down bill because it eliminated protection for transgender individuals and would allow discrimination based on gender stereotypes.
The bill’s opponents said it will force people to compromise their moral beliefs. They also questioned whether the amount of discrimination against gays and lesbians rises to the level of requiring the government to become involved in the day-to-day affairs of businesses.
City Councilman Bill Gulliford said the better response to intolerance is a public relations campaign, not more laws.“Minds and hearts need to be changed for tolerance to grow,” Gulliford said. ~The Florida Times Union
The legislation would not allow the city to pursue discrimination complaints through the courts. Gays and lesbians contending discrimination would seek voluntary mediation with the businesses and the city’s human rights office would conduct investigations.
Council members fielded about 10,000 emails and heard hours of public comments leading up to Wednesday’s meeting.