Gay couples in Louisiana will be blocked from becoming surrogate parents if Gov. Bobby Jindal has his way and signs a bill approved by the House on Sunday. The bill would set up surrogacy contract rules in the state as well as define who is eligible to enter into them. The final version of Senate Bill 162 defines “intended parents” as “married persons,” thus barring unmarried partners and same-sex couples from becoming parents through surrogacy. However, much of the opposition to the heavily amended bill came from religious and conservative groups who consider all surrogacy “anti-life.”
Louisiana law is currently silent on the issue of surrogate parenting, which proponents of the bill says has led to problems surrounding the legal rights of surrogate mothers, their spouses and the intended parents.
Opponents to the bill include the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Louisiana Family Forum, who both contend that surrogacy is “anti-life” because the process involves the creation of embryos that are never implanted. .
While the bill sailed through much of the legislative process, the Senate did refuse to accept an amendment added in the House by state Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, that would cause the bill to self-destruct if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The removal of the DOMA amendment keeps the door open for gay couples to enter into surrogacy contracts, but only if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the act, thus requiring Louisiana to recognize gay marriages performed in other states. The court is expected to make a ruling on the act by this summer.
Equality Louisiana, an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) rights advocacy group, remains opposed to the legislation but thanked the conference committee for removing Hoffmann’s amendment, which the group called “nothing but legislative gay-bashing.”