Recently, while my partner Darren and I have been discussing our wedding, another topic has come up. Darren and I have been discussing many life plans recently and one plan that we have for ourselves is children. We both have a passion to be dads and feel that for the first time in both our lives that we will be able to have ability both emotionally and financially to be dads.
The conversation, that I would assume a lot of same-sex couples have, came up. How do we want to have children? We talked about the two options we felt we had, surrogacy and adoption.
Darren and I knew that since we live in Michigan, it would be extremely difficult to adopt a child. Since Michigan does not recognize any type of same sex relationships, adoption would be extremely difficult. If Darren and I decided to adopt, it would be a single parent adoption. Only one of us would have legal rights to the child.
After Darren and I have discussed adoption and we decided we would prefer, as any couple would, to both have legal rights to the child we will raising. So, based on this conversation, we decided that surrogacy would be the better option. With surrogacy the child would be biologically connected to one of us while the other could legally adopt. This will also give us the option to have a child that is genetically linked to one of us, which is something that I find extremely appealing.
After deciding that surrogacy was the option we wanted, I decided to start doing some research in how this will happen. I have an incredible and dear friend who would be willing to carry our child for us, but I was looking at other options as well.
While researching surrogacy, I discovered a Michigan law prohibiting any type of surrogacy agreement. According to Michigan law –
In the 1992 case of Doe v. Att’y Gen., several would-be participants in surrogacy arrangements challenged the law, arguing that the state had no compelling interest in prohibiting surrogacy. A Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed and found three compelling state interests: (1) preventing children from becoming commodities; (2) serving the best interests of children; and (3) preventing the exploitation of women. Further clarifying the surrogacy statute, the Court noted that any agreement involving conception and relinquishment of parental rights by the surrogate is void.
I then read further to find out that out that not only are any surrogacy agreement challenged by law, they are punishable with up to a $50,000 fine for each party involved and up to a 5 year jail sentence.
This leaves almost no option for Darren and I to start a family. As mentioned earlier, adoption is nearly impossible since Michigan would only recognize one of us and a single parent adoption is incredibly difficult and surrogacy is illegal. Michigan claims that they are protecting women and children by this law, when in reality they are just discriminating against its LGBT citizens. Since they have written discrimination in the State’s constitution in 2004 banning all recognition for any type of LGBT relationships, adoption is nearly impossible.
This is just another law that the State uses to make its LGBT residentsLGBT Surrogacy
second class citizens. The state will not allow us to get married and as made it incredibly difficult to have children. Hopefully in the next few years LGBT couples like Darren and I will challenge the Michigan Supreme court into changing this law. Michigan has virtually no rights on the books for LGBT citizens which needs to change.