It probably came as no surprise to legally wed couple Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs that their union, sealed in D.C., was not recognized by their home state of Texas. But it certainly must have been a shock for them to learn that the Texas judicial system views them as little more than cohabitating babysitters.
The men have two month-old baby boys via surrogacy. One is biologically Hanna’s, the other is biologically Riggs’. When the men filed for adoption of each other’s child, they walked away empty-handed.
In a KVFW Fox 4 Dallas-Ft. Worth interview, Riggs said:
[box type=”shadow”]”Actually, I think that’s what surprised me the most, [it] was a family court. I guess I expected them to be looking out for the best interest of our kids, and I felt we walked out that day and it wasn’t in the best interest of our kids.”[/box]
The biggest obstacle to the adoption is the state’s refusal to acknowledge legal same-sex marriages from other states, but the couple’s legal troubles don’t end there. It seems that neither man is recognized as his own child’s father. After seeking assistance from GLAAD, it was learned that the men are not listed as the fathers on the birth certificates. Media Strategist Alexandra Bolles writes on the GLAAD blog,
[box type=”shadow”]Neither Jason nor Joe are listed as fathers on either of their sons’ birth certificates, which the men have not been able to see. They petitioned a judge in their county to add each of their names to their biological sons’ birth certificates and to cross-adopt, or second-parent adopt, the boys. The judge has denied the family both requests.[/box]
And all of this just prior to father’s day. In Texas, it seems, life begins at conception but paternity is a terribly messy affair that even the courts can’t figure out.
Watch the interview with gay fathers Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs.