Yesterday, The New Civil Rights Movement reported on the inconceivable case of a legally married same-sex couple — two men — each of whom fathered one of two twin boys. Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs are in fact the biological fathers of twins Lucas and Ethan. Specifically, Jason is the biological father of one of the boys, and Joe is the biological father of the other. And they now say they even have DNA tests to prove it.
But a Texas family court judge has ruled that even with DNA tests proving parentage, not only can both dads not be listed as parents of both boys, but neither Jason nor Joe can be listed as a parent at all.
Of course, the reason is because the men are gay and Texas does not recognize same-sex marriage. But even if they were straight, they wouldn’t have to go to court to be listed as fathers — the hospital would just automatically list them as they do every day of the year.
Ironically, the wonderful surrogate mother, CharLynn, who gave birth to Lucas and Ethan in April, is listed on the birth certificates as the mother — but she isn’t, as the fertilized eggs were implanted into her.
Of course, the couple is trying to get both their names on each of their twin boys’ birth certificates, but they are living in fear that without even one of their names on the birth certificates, the state of Texas could take their biological children away from them.
Jason and Joe talked with Michelangelo Signorile of SiriusXM Progress. Signorile, the editor-at-large for the Huffington Post’s Gay Voices, posted the transcript and audio today at the Huffington Post.
“As of right now in Texas two men cannot be on the birth certificate,” Jason Hanna explained in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress. “So our attorney followed the letter of the law. We petitioned the court. We had DNA testing there [in court] and petitioned the judge to ultimately remove the surrogate mother from the birth certificate, who has no biological ties to the boys. We would like each biological dad to be placed on the birth certificate of our own son, and then ultimately proceed to the second-parent adoption. The entire petition was denied.”
“We were sworn in and ultimately the judge was saying that with the information she had in front of her, under Texas law she couldn’t grant it,” Riggs said of their appearance in court last week. “I was shocked. We had a ton of questions as we walked away from that courtroom.”
“In order to grant a second-parent adoption [automatically under current law], it has to be between two married people,” Jason explained. “And so, considering we’re not legally married in the eyes of Texas, they don’t have to grant that second-parent adoption because they don’t recognize our marriage…It’s up to the judge’s discretion on whether or not to grant it.”
“Without [co-adoption], if something happened to either me or Joe we don’t have any legal recourse to keep the other’s biological child,” Hanna said. “The state could come in and separate these two brothers…We want to reiterate how important it is for a state to recognize each family, whether it’s same-sex or opposite-sex, and really to ensure everyone has equal protection from the state.”
Top image courtesy Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs
Thanks to Michelangelo Signorile and the Huffington Post
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