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International custody battle began with same-sex relationship

Child custody cases happen in Ohio and throughout the nation every day. However, some custody cases are more unique than others.

This is demonstrated in a very complex case is set to go to trial. The parents of a 10-year-old girl were once in a civil union together. They solidified their relationship in Vermont, soon after same-sex relationships became recognized there in 2000. Artificial insemination was used to conceive a child that both individuals raised as their own.

But the civil union was ended in 2004 after one of the women became an evangelical Christian and decided that she would no longer be a homosexual. The split resulted in a custody agreement that left the recently-converted woman in primary custody with her former lover receiving visitation rights. The biological mother-the woman that received custody-moved out of state with her daughter and began defying visitation orders.

She was determined to be a fugitive in 2009 after she reportedly left the country with the couple's daughter. Prosecutors believe that the woman traveled to Canada and then to Nicaragua after becoming involved with a network of Mennonites that assisted her in traveling to the Central American nation. The whereabouts of the mother and daughter are currently unknown and the woman that received visitation rights is worried for her daughter's safety.

The case will begin with a reverend from the Mennonite network that reportedly assisted the mother in her flight from the U.S. He and several other reportedly involved individuals will be brought to trial.

According to a message from a Nicaraguan group of Mennonites received last year, the religious group wants to keep the girl away from her other mother who remains an active lesbian. They believe that this is an immoral lifestyle.

A former legal representative for the fugitive mother was not sure how his previous client had connected with the Mennonite group. She reportedly never had any association with the sect of Christianity. No communications between the lawyer and the missing mother have occurred since September 2009.

Source: WAND, "Trial nears in Vt. civil-union child custody case," Wilson Ring, Aug. 5, 2012

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