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Texas gay fathers denied parenthood of their biological twins

By Mason White 3:48 PM June 23, 2014
Joe Riggs and Jason Hanna 

By: Hydar Tomar
In a surprising ruling, a judge denied two gay men the joy of fatherhood.

Joe Riggs and Jason Hanna are the proud parents of two boys named Luke and Ethan, in what they described as a “magical” birth, by surrogate mother Charlynn.

Each of the men is the biological father to one of the babies. However, because Texas still bans gay marriage, judges may use their own judgment in these cases.

Despite being the biological fathers, neither of the men are currently on the birth certificates of either one of the boys, nor have they been able to co-adopt the biological child of the other.

The surrogate mother – who is not biologically related to the children, since the embryos were transferred to her – is on the birth certificates.

In essence, the men are not legally defined as the parents of their own children, despite having DNA evidence to prove it.

In Texas, two men cannot be on a birth certificate. The lawyer for the men asked the court to remove the surrogate mother from the birth certificate, and have the name of each biological parent on the birth certificate of his own son, and then they would proceed to have the child adopted by the second parent. However, the entire request was denied.

Hanna and Riggs met four years ago, and they knew that they wanted to be together and raise their own children, so they saved up money, knowing it would be a costly process.

They married last July, in Washington DC, where gay marriage is legal, and then returned to Dallas, to celebrate their wedding with family and friends in August. They found a surrogate mother, and the twins were born.

“I was shocked. I had a lot of questions as we walked away from the courtroom,” Riggs said.

The couple’s attorney has offered several options such as changing the paperwork and process to bring the petition back to court. However, there is no doubt that if gay marriage was legally recognized, they would not be having these problem at all.