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In north Texas, a family court judge ruled that two fathers cannot add their names to their own biological children's birth certificates. The legally married couple, Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs, each fathered one twin boy via surrogate—and they've even proved this with DNA tests.

Despite the tests, the Texas judge has not only refused to allow both Jason and Joe's names on the birth certificates—neither of them is listed as a parent at all.

"On one hand, it's a little scary because as of right now, we don't have full parental rights of our own biological children,” said Hanna.

"Actually, I think that's what surprised me the most was a family court,” said Riggs. “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."

Although DOMA was overruled in the U.S. Supreme Court, same-sex marriages aren't recognized in Texas. Judges can interpret family law differently. With neither of their names listed as parents, the couple fears their newborn sons could be taken away from them.
The birth certificate currently lists the surrogate as the children's parent. Jason and Joe are awaiting the next step in the legal process.
“Without [co-adoption], if something happened to either me or Joe we don’t have any legal recourse to keep the other’s biological child,” Hanna said. “The state could come in and separate these two brothers.”

He added: “We want to reiterate how important it is for a state to recognize each family, whether it’s same-sex or opposite-sex, and really to ensure everyone has equal protection from the state.”

The judge wouldn't give specific reasons for denying the adoption, but assured KDFW News she "strictly follows the law."
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Originally posted to FaithGardner on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 12:37 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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