In today’s tale of “no good deed goes unpunished,” a man in Kansas who provided sperm to a lesbian couple has been deemed the father of a child born to one of the women, and now he must pay child support, according to the judge who ruled on the case.
The man, William Marotta (pictured right), saw an ad the couple posted on Craigslist.com, which said they wanted to have a baby together. Marotta works as a mechanic, is married (to a woman), and has no kids but he and his wife raise foster children; not receiving any compensation for his handiwork, Marotta donated his swimmers to the couple just to be nice. In exchange, he signed an agreement with the two women that stated he did not want parental rights, nor would they hold him responsible.
The women never went after him for money, and have said repeatedly that they don’t want him to pay them anything. The lawsuit was filed by the Kansas Dept. of Children and Families, to force Marotta to be recognized as the legal father.
The lawsuit arose when the two women, Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer, filed for public assistance after Bauer lost her job. Their baby was born to Schreiner; together they have a total of eight children, and Bauer supported the family financially. And before you raise a judgmental eyebrow because they are asking for welfare, please be aware that one child is from Schreiner’s previous marriage, one is Bauer’s nephew who she raises, and the rest are special-needs foster children who they adopted. Yes, they raise disabled kids. One has Down’s Syndrome, one is severely autistic, and the list goes on. As if this situation couldn’t get any more frustrating.
Needless to say, Kansas does not recognize same-sex relationships in any way. Because she had not legally adopted the baby born to Schreiner, Bauer was not recognized as the second parent, so the government sued Marotta to force him to pay the child support payments to reimburse the welfare money.
Kansas’ Dept. of Children and Families used a pathetic claim that stated because this sperm donation/impregnation situation happened via Craigslist, and was not performed by a licensed doctor, Marotta did not legally terminate his parental rights. (…which leads to a question: then what exactly did they do with Marotta’s sperm? Did they use a turkey baster? Can that actually work?)
But of course that is just the convenient excuse. This case is good old-fashioned bigotry against the couple because they are lesbians, and it is meant to discourage other same-sex couples from raising children. Backwards legislators in Kansas are fighting to have creationism taught in public schools, because evolution is just a myth! So of course the thought of gay and lesbian families is too much to bear.
Hopefully Schreiner will not file any more claims for public assistance, because Marotta is also responsible for future child support payments. He’s already had to pay his attorneys thousands of dollars. Yet another horrifying detail! This story keeps getting worse.
And how exactly did Kansas’ Dept. of Children and Families officials find out he is the biological father? Seems like the lesbos blabbed. If you can’t raise children on your own, then don’t adopt/have them.
Caleb in SC
I seem to remember reading that the Kansas officials threatened the couple with criminal contempt if they did not identify the biological father, which could mean jail time.
1. You have to agree to cooperate with the Dept of Children & Families in order qualify for TANF or Medicaid. If they had lied and said they didn’t know who the father was, they could have been convicted of welfare fraud if the truth ever came to light. I’m sure they thought the sperm donor was safe since he had signed away his parental rights and responsibilities, but I guess they underestimated the desire of the Kansas government to invalidate same-sex relationships.
2. I’m guessing you missed the part where it was explained that they didn’t apply for government assistance until after Bauer lost her job. Unless, of course, you believe only the clairvoyant should be allowed to have/adopt children.
At first I laughed at this (because it’s pretty funny cosmic joke on some levels), but then I was annoyed.
It shows the backward thinking that has still yet to turn around. Child support was meant for the man (the macho breadwinner of the family) to pay for the woman (innocent homemaker and victim) so that the child can be raised with the financial stability that two parents would provide. The father’s presence, TIME, etc. is not required… just his money.
In this case, the child HAS TWO PARENTS. The man is being punished for being a willing biological asset, but NOT a willing parenting asset. He doesn’t need to be.
It shows that this judge in Kansas thinks a “man” should be present as the child is raised… even if it were just though his pocketbook.
The article states he did not terminate his parental rights. That basically makes this open and shut if welfare money comes into play. Someone in that party should not have cheaped out completely and spent some money to make sure every thing was legal. Sorry but I don’t really see any bigotry. In the courts eyes, this is the same as a “one night stand”. If he had terminated his parental rights, of course it’d be a different story
Oh Kansas, Who is more STUPID, you or your neighbor Oklahoma. I’m sure you’re both furious with jealousy that Florida repeatedly takes home the dummy award, but that won’t stop ya from tryin’, now will it.
I hope this guy appeals this decision, gets it overturned and sets a precedent for other couples who seek a donor, and that donor.
Caleb in SC
@Jackhoffsky: No, Kansas is just trying to recoup its public money that went to support the child. It’s still BS, but Kansas could give a crap is this guy paid child support so long as no public money were expended to do it. He needs to appeal the ruling as far as it will go.
I think it’s disgusting that same-sex couples allow their sexuality to get in the way of the fact that a child needs a mother and father in is life to ensure he has the natural balance of things.
I’m not saying that same-sex families can’t be loving, mind you. Of course they can. But this retail mentality of same-sex couples – particularly lesbians – is grating and wrong.
As for this specific decision, if you donated sperm, the child is yours. No amount of parsing will change this fact. You should look after the child and support it financially. You can’t be a deadbeat dad.
Y’know, I’m having a hard time seeing the homophobia and discrimination here. The woman is not married. She has a child. She sought public assistance, and the state sought child-support payments from the child’s biological father to offset the cost.
This happens all the time in every state in the country. The fact they are lesbians and the sperm was donated is irrelevant. Unless he has legal documentation that clearly terminates his parental rights and responsibilities, he’s on the hook (a simple written agreement is likely not enough). It’s unfortunate, but it happens all the time, even when the woman/mother is straight and was knocked up the old-fashioned way.
Well, if you think it through, he asked for it. He was not a “sperm donor” as when fertilization is done by a doctor. He basically just got one of the women pregnant. (Dumb thing to do.) I’m not even sure that I consider recognition of gay marriage so much of an issue here. Of course, we are talking about Kansas here…
The best solution to this is for both parents to have jobs. She needs to find a job. If you are going to take on the responsibility of 8 kids, you must have gainful employment. It’s very noble of them to take care of so many kids with disabilities but lets be real here, you must have some income to do this.
Hopefully she does find a job soon and the man who wants nothing to do with this child doesn’t have to pay anything. Either that or they move to a more accepting and understanding state that is not out to use them to prove some ideological point.
@tjr101: You are joking are you not? Both parents should work when trying to raise 8 children, several of whom are special needs? This is a nightmare for all the people involved and has TEABAGGER prejudice written all over it. PS if you see jimbryant’s name in the header, just skip to the end and flag him. Do not even bother reading. He is only here to incite.
@jimbryant: you have to be a completely imbecile. You have not only alienated the group you intended but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, single foster parent. All of the heterosexual above because they are not a mother and a father as well. Working at a social services agency, I learned the hardway by standing by a slogan that said every child deserves a mother and a father. The first person to practically spit in my face was an older hetero sexual woman advising me she had to parent her grandson alone because that mother and father were off being addicts. But in your eyes the kid should go back to them so they Are reunited and then they’ll have something to cook or sell when they need their next hit.
Lastly there is something called the termination of parental rights, documents frequently needed and absolutely needed in deals like these and are used in traditional adoptions. That, guess what? Makes the child and it’s responsibility not yours. So your absolute is not. No anger incited here, I’m just giving you information
Effin auto correct took my complete and made it completely
@Goforit: Yes, they need to work. It’s life and shit happens. There must be some fallback income when you decide to raise 8 kids, not 1 or 2, or even 5 but 8? Sorry if I sound judgemental but in a state like Kansas it’s a bit naive to not expect any kind of Teabagger response to this couple’s situation.
@Damianvargas: Regarding your comment about parental rights, the article does state that he terminated his parental rights. “In exchange, he signed an agreement with the two women that stated he did not want parental rights, nor would they hold him responsible.”
This contract is what he and the women thought would protect him, and them, from any future parental rights issues. The problem is that the state won’t recognize the contract.
Another problem is that the state won’t recognize the (former) partner to the biological mother as a parent. They refused her money when she offered to pay the state health care bills for the child! So, you can see why bigotry is assumed here.
The court’s basis for claiming this is the “same as a one night stand” is the fact that “the impregnation was not performed by a licensed doctor.” But, as the arguments say, this is an outdated law that many states changed over 10 years ago.
@CaptainFabulous: Just for your information: The “homophobia and discrimination here” is evident in a detail more specific than what this article gives. The article states that the women have said repeatedly they don’t want him to pay them anything. The detail is that when the (former) partner found out about the lawsuit, she offered to pay the state health care bill for the child (I guess she figured she could raise the money somehow). But the state refused to acknowledge her, preferring to spend large amounts of money on the lawsuit. The state refuses to acknowledge same sex partners. Therefore the partner couldn’t put her name on the birth certificate with the mother. It is argued that if the unmarried partner had been a man, the state would have accepted him, and his money, and not gone after the sperm donor.
And I’m sure everyone involved thought that the contract they signed was more than a simple written document, and would qualify as “legal documentation.” But the state isn’t acknowledging that either.
There are millions of single mothers in this country getting public assistance. Even in a state as small as Kansas, there must be tens of thousands. Does Kansas go after the biological fathers of all the children on public assistance to collect child support? I doubt it. Is this case about recouping support payments, or about singling out lesbians who have families without men?
Both parents working is probably not practical if you have 8 kids including ones that have special needs. The childcare costs would likely exceed most salaries unless you had a decent job.
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