Earlier this week, I featured a couple of asshats — Rick Perry and Connie Trube — from the great state of Texas, and, maybe, I suggested that they made the Asshat Team, in part, because they are from Texas. For about a half-second I felt bad, lumping some of the more rational people of that state into the Asshat File, but then I heard this story and it makes me think the asshats are in charge out there, and maybe that fence that some Texans want to build to keep the rest of us out, should be built, only it should be used to keep the Texans inside.
Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs are a same-sex couple and the fathers of Lucas and Ethan, who were born via a surrogate mother. Through the miracle of modern medicine, each one of these men is the biological father of one of the babies; but, and here’s where Asshat Texas comes in, because the state has a ban on same-sex marriage — though it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge last February, the decision was stayed pending appeal — and because a Texas judge can use his or her own discretion in these cases, neither one of the men is on the birth certificates of either one of the boys, and they have not been allowed to co-adopt each other’s biological child.
Only the surrogate mother — who has no biological relationship to the boys, since embryos were transferred to her — is on the birth certificates. The fathers of these two boys—and let’s be queer, the biological fathers of the boys are Jason and Joe—are not legally defined as the parents of their own children.
Their.Own.Children. How bassackwards does this get?
And even with DNA proof that Jason is the biological father on one son, and Joe the biological father of the other, if something happened to either one of those two men, those two fathers, the other would not be able to adopt the other’s son.
“As of right now in Texas two men cannot be on the birth certificate. 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.” — Jason Hanna
Are they asking for so much? I mean, all they want is to have their names listed as the biological parent to one of the boys, and then allow the other father to adopt the other child. They simply want to be parents, but in the state of Texas only the surrogate, who has no biological connection to either child is the legal parent.
What makes this even more unfair is that the judge in this case didn’t follow any precedent. Other same-sex couples in Texas, including friends of Jason and Joe, have successfully completed this same process, but since the judge can make up her own mind and do whatever she wants, and because Jason and Joe cannot legally marry in Texas, she has decided that the men cannot be on the birth certificate, nor can they adopt each other’s son.
How is this right? How do you tell a father that he cannot adopt the sibling of his own child because he’s a gay man? How is that fair? How does a judge tell two men who fathered two children that they cannot be listed on the birth certificate, but the surrogate mother, a stranger, really, to both boys, can be called their mother?
We’ve got a long way to go in this country to make things right, and Texas has even a longer way to go, when they can tell parents that they aren’t allowed to be the parents of their own children simply because they’re a gay couple.