A “family” court judge in North Texas ruled that a legally married couple with two biological children cannot be a family, not only denying the two parents the ability to cross adopt one another’s child, but refusing them the right to be listed as parents at all on the birth certificates.
News Nation reports the parents, Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs, received the ruling on Wednesday. The ruling was handed down despite the fact that the men are a legally married couple, and that DOMA is long dead. Same-sex marriages still aren’t allowed in Texas, so in situations like this, there’s no uniform legal framework. This results in a patchwork legal quilt, where each judge can interpret the family law differently, according to Longtime Dallas adoption lawyer Suzanne Lomenick:
It all turns on the marriage issue, so adoptions….of this nature have been granted in courts here. It is allowable and it is discretionary with the court.
Jason and Joe are the fathers of babies Lucas and Ethan. The two twins were born to the same surrogate mother, but one child is biologically Jason’s and the other is biologically Joe’s. Currently, the only parent on the birth certificate is the surrogate. The judge wouldn’t give a reason why she handed down the ruling, but told KDFW news that she “strictly follows the law.”
Watch Jason Hanna join MSNBC’s News Nation’s anchor, Tamron Hall.
More on the gay fathers in Texas.