A court has ruled that Kansas resident, William Marotta must pay child support to a lesbian couple whose semen he donated, this despite the couple promising never to seek financial recourse from Marotta.
The judgement against the man came after Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi ruled that William Marotta and the couple he donated to did not follow 1994 state law requiring the presence of a licensed physician during artificial insemination.
Told the judge: ‘In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties’ self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child.’
It all came to pass when in 2009 William Marotta responded to a craigslist advertisement that Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer placed seeking a sperm donor. Before the artificial insemination, all three signed a contract waiving Marotta’s responsibilities and later that year, Schreiner gave birth.
Yet this is where things got tricky. In 2010, Schreiner and Bauer split up. Two years later, Schreiner applied for welfare after an injury forced Bauer to stop working. The state of Kansas refused.
Tells the Daily Dot: The state of Kansas denied the welfare claim and ordered Scheiner to disclose the identity of the father, so he could begin paying child support. Since Kansas does not recognize same-sex marriages, the couple had to list Schreiner as the mother on the birth certificate, while not including Bauer.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families then filed suit against Marotta, seeking to have him declared the child’s father so he would be forced to pay part of $6,000 in public assistance the child receives, in addition to regular child support.
Marotta’s lawyer, Benoit Swinnen, argued that his client was legally a sperm donor and therefore not required to pay child support. He also argued that Kansas’ law does not explicitly require that artificial insemination be carried out by a licensed physician.
This led to Swinnen telling that although disappointed he would appeal the ruling.
Bauer and Schreiner also opposed the judge’s decision. ‘This was a wonderful opportunity with a guy with an admirable, giving character who wanted nothing more than to help us have a child,’ Bauer told the Capital Journal. ‘I feel like the state of Kansas has made a mess out of the situation.’
Of question is whether how the baby was conceived ought to matter and equally important is the decision by the couple to have chosen on their own merit to bring a child into the world. In essence they were only lending William Marotta’s seed. He did not plan to have a family. He was a means to an end. If that being the case shouldn’t the burden of financial mobility fall on both Schreiner and Bauer, irrespective if they split up and not withstanding Bauer’s health issues that have negated her ability to work.
And if Bauer is unable to financially accommodate shouldn’t the state then step in as it does in other instances where the parents are unable to meet financial obligations? Or to put it more succinctly and to the brunt of the case, is Kansas state refusing to acknowledge Bauer’s mantle as a co parent because of its aversion to same sex marriage?