FOUNDATION FOR MORAL LAW URGES SUPREME COURT TO HEAR APPEAL OF CHRISTIAN BUISNESSMAN IMPRISONED FOR HELPING CHRISTIAN MOTHER KEEP HER CHILD
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February 5, 2019
MONTGOMERY, AL: The Foundation for Moral Law (“the Foundation”) filed an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court today urging it to hear the appeal of Philip Zodhiates, a Christian businessman imprisoned for helping a mother keep custody of her child.
In 2000, Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins entered into a civil union in Vermont. Ms. Miller had a child through artificial insemination in 2002. Shortly after that, she renounced her lesbianism, returned to her evangelical faith, and dissolved the civil union. The courts ultimately ruled that Ms. Miller had to grant Ms. Jenkins visitation rights, despite claims that the child was being abused in Ms. Jenkins’s custody. After losing the court battles, Ms. Miller and the child disappeared.
Federal authorities charged Mr. Zodhiates with kidnapping, claiming that he drove Miller and the child to Canada, where the mother and child allegedly flew to Central America. Mr. Zodhiates was found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment. Zodhiates’s lawyer has asked the Supreme Court to take the case, claiming that the government violated the Fourth Amendment in how it gathered evidence against Mr. Zodhiates.
Rather than duplicate the arguments of Mr. Zodhiates’s lawyer, the Foundation’s brief raised religious liberty and parental rights arguments. The Foundation argued that under Supreme Court precedent, the Constitution gave Lisa Miller, not Janet Jenkins, the right to determine the custody and upbringing of her child. Because Ms. Miller’s actions were protected by the United States Constitution, Mr. Zodhiates could not have been guilty as an accomplice for helping Ms. Miller do something that was fully within her legal rights to do.
Foundation attorney Matt Clark said, “In a long line of precedents, the Supreme Court has held that natural parents have rights over their children that override the interests of custodians who are not biologically related to the child and even the government itself, especially when religious issues are involved. Because Lisa Miller could not have been convicted of kidnapping her own child, Mr. Zodhiates could not have been convicted as an accomplice.”
Foundation President Kayla Moore said, “This case yet again involves the clash between the God-given and constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion and the LGBT agenda. We hope that the Supreme Court will take the opportunity to defend religious freedom and set Mr. Zodhiates free.”