updated 12/29/2009 4:16:18 PM ET 2009-12-29T21:16:18

The birth mother of a 7-year-old Virginia girl must transfer custody of the child to the woman's former lesbian partner, a Vermont judge has ruled.

Vermont Family Court Judge William Cohen ordered Lisa Miller of Winchester, Va., to turn over daughter Isabella to Janet Jenkins of Fair Haven at 1 p.m. Friday at the Virginia home of Jenkins' parents.

Miller and Jenkins were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. Isabella was born to Miller through artificial insemination in 2002. The couple broke up in 2003, and Miller moved to Virginia, renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Christian.

In the Dec. 22 order denying Miller's request to delay the transfer of Isabella, Cohen wrote: "It appears that Ms. Miller has ceased contact with her attorneys and disappeared with the minor child."

Liberty Counsel attorneys who have represented Miller in the past did not immediately respond to telephone messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press.

A listing for Lisa Miller in Winchester, Va., says the phone line has been temporarily disconnected at the customer's request.

Jenkins' attorney, Sarah Star, said she hopes Miller is simply not communicating with her attorneys but plans to comply with the order.

"It is Ms. Jenkins' intent when she has custody of Isabella to allow as liberal contact as is possible with her other mother," Star said Tuesday.

When Cohen dissolved the civil union, he awarded custody to Miller but granted liberal visitation rights to Jenkins.

The supreme courts of Virginia and Vermont ruled in favor of Jenkins, saying the case was the same was a custody dispute between a heterosexual couple. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear arguments on it.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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