This is our world now.
In 2009 William Marotta donated sperm to a lesbian couple who wanted a child. The couple eventually split up and the the birth mother fell upon hard times. That’s when the state stepped in and tried to declare Marotta the child’s legal father and force him to pay child support.
William Marotta, from Topeka, answered a classified ad in 2009 from two women who wished to have a child.
The couple later separated and the birth mother received state assistance.
The state’s department for children and families, however, had sought to recoup costs and force Mr Marotta to pay ongoing child support.
County District Judge Mary Mattivi ruled that the birth mother, Jennifer Schreiner, and her former partner, Angela Bauer, should be considered the child’s legal parents.
By Kansas law a sperm donor are not legally considered a child’s parent, but the way the law is written around a scenario involving a doctor. In Marotta’s case there was no doctor involved, so using that technicality the state tried to declare him the legal father and force him to pay for birth related costs as well as ongoing child support.
It’s hard to have any sympathy for anyone participating in this sort of skeevy transaction. Any time people choose to make a person by unnatural means and/or outside of a stable family environment they are inviting trouble into their own lives and more importantly into a child’s life. Any child is starting out at a disadvantage if his conception involved a classified ad (probably on Craigslist) and a stranger who badly needed $50. There are people who should strongly consider owning a dog as an alternative to parenthood, though that may not be fair to the dog.
This case lies at the end of a series of bad decisions and in a soup of cultural decay but it still seems unconscionable for the government to bring it to court. I think the court made the right decision but the “parents” certainly made the wrong decisions regarding their child.
The state’s Department of Children and Families claims that the law was ignored in this decision but has not said whether they will appeal.
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