We Found Our Son in the Subway

New York Times, by Paul Mercurio, February 28, 2013

The story of how Danny and I were married last July in a Manhattan courtroom, with our son, Kevin, beside us, began 12 years earlier, in a dark, damp subway station.

Danny called me that day, frantic. “I found a baby!” he shouted. “I called 911, but I don’t think they believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get down here and flag down a police car or something.” By nature Danny is a remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the phone line, I knew I had to run.

When I got to the A/C/E/ subway exit on Eighth Avenue, Danny was still there, waiting for help to arrive. The baby, who had been left on the ground in a corner behind the turnstiles, was light-brown skinned and quiet, probably about a day old, wrapped in an oversize black sweatshirt.

In the following weeks, after family court had taken custody of “Baby ACE,” as he was nicknamed, Danny told the story over and over again, first to every local TV news station, then to family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. The story spread like an urban myth: You’re never going to believe what my friend’s cousin’s co-worker found in the subway. What neither of us knew, or could have predicted, was that Danny had not just saved an abandoned infant; he had found our son.

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Republicans Sign Brief in Support of Gay Marriage

February 25, 2013
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry, a position that amounts to a direct challenge to Speaker John A. Boehner and reflects the civil war in the party since the November election.

The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans. The court will hear back-to-back arguments next month in that case and another pivotal gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

Legal analysts said the brief had the potential to sway conservative justices as much for the prominent names attached to it as for its legal arguments. The list of signers includes a string of Republican officials and influential thinkers — 75 as of Monday evening — who are not ordinarily associated with gay rights advocacy, including some who are speaking out for the first time and others who have changed their previous positions.

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.

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Are Dads Squashing Their “Parental Instinct?”

Should sperm donors have parental duties?

By Pia Gadkari BBC News,
Washington – 2/21/2013

As more women become pregnant using sperm donated by men they know, the law must establish what role, if any, these men should play in their biological children’s lives.

When William Marotta answered a Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor, he was just trying to help two women start a family.

Over a few days in 2009, he gave the couple several donations in plastic cups and signed an agreement giving up all his parental rights. He thought he would never see them again.

But in October he got an alarming letter: though the women did not want him to be part of the child’s life, the state of Kansas was suing him for child support.

Mr Marotta, 45, discovered that the women raising his biological daughter had separated and the child’s mother, facing financial difficulties, had enrolled the girl in Medicaid, a government healthcare programme for the poor.

The state asked her for the name of the girl’s father, who officials said was financially responsible for the medical expenses incurred.

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With No Shortcut to a Green Card, Gay Couples Leave U.S.

February 17, 2013
New York Times

Not long ago, Brandon Perlberg had a growing law practice and a Manhattan apartment he shared with his partner, who is British. They hosted themed dinner parties and wine tastings for a wide circle of friends.

But Mr. Perlberg, an American who is gay, now lives in London. Early last year he reluctantly left his law firm, rented out his apartment and said goodbye to friends. After nearly seven years in the United States on legal but temporary visas, his partner had not been able to obtain a visa as a permanent resident. The two were facing the possibility of permanent separation.

Americans with a foreign-born spouse of the opposite sex are able to get them resident visas, or green cards, with relative ease. But federal law does not allow Americans to petition for green cards for same-sex spouses or partners. Eventually, they face a choice of remaining in the country with the immigrant here illegally or leaving the United States.

“Ultimately, we resolved that staying together was the most important thing for us,” Mr. Perlberg said. “And the only way to guarantee that we got to stay together was by making this move.”

Mr. Perlberg is part of a diaspora of gay Americans who have found they had to uproot and leave the country to continue to live with foreign partners. And this year, binational gay couples like his are a new — and controversial — focus of the debate in Washington on an ambitious overhaul of immigration laws. In a blueprint that President Obama presented last month, he pledged to give citizens, and also immigrants who are legal residents, the ability to petition for a green card for a same-sex foreign partner, if they can show they have “a permanent relationship.”

The Supreme Court will also take up same-sex issues this year, with hearings in March on two cases that challenge the definition of marriage as being a union between only a man and a woman. One case deals directly with a 1996 statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage and governs the exclusion of gay couples from visas and other immigration benefits.

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Making a Child, Minus the Couple

February 8, 2013
New York Times
By ABBY ELLIN

Rachel Hope is 5-foot-9 and likes yoga, dance and martial arts. A real estate developer and freelance writer in Los Angeles, Ms. Hope, 41, is seeking a man who lives near her, is healthy and fit, and “has his financial stuff together,” she said. Parker Williams, the 42-year-old founder of QTheory, a charity auction company also in Los Angeles, would seem like a good candidate. A 6-foot-2 former model who loves animals, Mr. Williams is athletic, easygoing, compassionate and organized.

Neither Ms. Hope nor Mr. Williams is interested in a romantic liaison. But they both want a child, and they’re in serious discussions about having, and raising, one together. Never mind that Mr. Williams is gay and that the two did not know of each other’s existence until last October, when they met on Modamily.com, a Web site for people looking to share parenting arrangements.

Mr. Williams and Ms. Hope are among a new breed of online daters, looking not for love but rather a partner with whom to build a decidedly non-nuclear family. And several social networks, including PollenTree.com, Coparents.com, Co-ParentMatch.com, and MyAlternativeFamily.com, as well as Modamily, have sprung up over the past few years to help them.

“While some people have chosen to be a single parent, many more people look at scheduling and the financial pressures and the lack of an emotional partner and decide that single parenting is too daunting and wouldn’t be good for them or the child,” said Darren Spedale, 38, the founder of Family by Design, a free parenting partnership site officially introduced in early January. “If you can share the support and the ups and downs with someone, it makes it a much more interesting parenting option.”

 
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Men Having Babies – 2012 Seminar – Legal Issues with Steven Snyder, Esq.

France: Children born via surrogates overseas to be granted citizenship

04 February 2013

By James Brooks

Appeared in BioNews 691

The French Justice Minister’s instruction to courts to accept citizenship applications for children born via surrogates in other countries has unleashed a political and popular furore.

The minister, Christiane Taubira, issued the instruction during a debate on gay marriage. Immediately, ministers from the opposition UMP party accused the government of attempting to underhandedly introduce liberal legislation on surrogacy and access to IVF for gay couples. Surrogacy is illegal in France and fertility treatment only available to heterosexual couples.

After Taubira had presented the instruction to the French parliament, the head of the opposition UMP party, Jean-François Copé, declared that the government had ‘let its mask drop’ and that the instruction should immediately be withdrawn.

UMP MP Laurent Wauquiez, who leads a movement calling for a popular referendum on gay marriage, told a full French parliament that ‘the law being presented is the start rather than the finish line and test-tube babies and surrogate mothers are the destination’.

According to the Associated Press, the debate ‘has sent thousands into the streets, turned the bridges over the Seine into billboards and prompted charges that women’s bodies will soon be for rent in a society that still has surprisingly deep conservative roots’.

Faced with such vociferous opposition, both Taubira and President François Hollande have sought to clarify their position. Talking to the press after a cabinet meeting, Taubira said: ‘There isn’t the slightest change in the position of either the President or the government. In law surrogacy is forbidden – there is no debate on that point’.

In fact the instruction concerns only children who are born via surrogacy overseas and ensures that they will be given French civil status – similar to nationality – when they arrive in France.

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India Bars Gay Couples From Surrogacy Services

BY Trudy Ring – the Advocate

January 18 2013

India, which has been a popular destination for gay would-be parents seeking surrogacy services, will be so no more, with new regulations barring foreign same-sex couples and single people from entering into surrogacy arrangements there.

The new rules, posted on the Indian Home Ministry’s website, “say foreign couples seeking to enter into a surrogacy arrangement in India must be a ‘man and woman [who] are duly married and the marriage should be sustained at least two years,’” Agence France-Presse reports. Some proponents of the move said they were concerned about exploitation of impoverished young Indian women by affluent foreigners. India legalized commercial surrogacy in 2002.

Several fertility specialists and activists, meanwhile, decried the new regulations. “This is a huge heartbreak for homosexual couples and singles,” fertility doctor Anoop Gupta told AFP. Gay rights advocate Nitin Karani added, “It’s totally unfair — not only for gay people but for people who are not married who may have been living together for years, and for singles.”

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Making a Child, Minus the Couple

February 8, 2013
New York Times
By ABBY ELLIN

Rachel Hope is 5-foot-9 and likes yoga, dance and martial arts. A real estate developer and freelance writer in Los Angeles, Ms. Hope, 41, is seeking a man who lives near her, is healthy and fit, and “has his financial stuff together,” she said. Parker Williams, the 42-year-old founder of QTheory, a charity auction company also in Los Angeles, would seem like a good candidate. A 6-foot-2 former model who loves animals, Mr. Williams is athletic, easygoing, compassionate and organized.

Neither Ms. Hope nor Mr. Williams is interested in a romantic liaison. But they both want a child, and they’re in serious discussions about having, and raising, one together. Never mind that Mr. Williams is gay and that the two did not know of each other’s existence until last October, when they met on Modamily.com, a Web site for people looking to share parenting arrangements.

Mr. Williams and Ms. Hope are among a new breed of online daters, looking not for love but rather a partner with whom to build a decidedly non-nuclear family. And several social networks, including PollenTree.com, Coparents.com, Co-ParentMatch.com, and MyAlternativeFamily.com, as well as Modamily, have sprung up over the past few years to help them.

“While some people have chosen to be a single parent, many more people look at scheduling and the financial pressures and the lack of an emotional partner and decide that single parenting is too daunting and wouldn’t be good for them or the child,” said Darren Spedale, 38, the founder of Family by Design, a free parenting partnership site officially introduced in early January. “If you can share the support and the ups and downs with someone, it makes it a much more interesting parenting option.”

The sites present what can seem like a compelling alternative to surrogacy, adoption or simple sperm donation.

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