Published December 31, 2012
A Kansas sperm donor who was ordered to pay child support for the baby he helped a lesbian couple conceive plans to fight back in court, and suggested he might be a victim of bias against same-sex parenting.
William Marotta told FoxNews.com he might never have agreed to provide sperm to Angela Bauer and her former partner, Jennifer Schreiner, had he known the legal morass that awaited him after responding to the women’s Craigslist ad for a donor in March 2009. The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) recently filed a child support claim against Marotta after the couple filed for state assistance this year, leading the department to demand they provide the donor’s name so it could collect.
“I have a hunch part of the reason this is going this way is because of people’s feelings toward same-sex couples,” Marotta said in an exclusive interview with FoxNews.com. “I can’t help but feel this is somewhat of a political issue.”
The 46-year-old machinist said he received notice in late October that he was being targeted by state officials to pay child support after the couple — who parted ways in 2010 but still co-parent their eight children ranging in age from 3 months to 25 years — were ordered by DCF officials to provide the sperm donor’s name. State officials argued that if the women did not identify the donor, the agency would deny health benefits due to withheld information.
Bauer, who could not be reached for comment Monday, told The Topeka Capital-Journal on Saturday that she and Schreiner were “kind of at a loss” about the development.
“We are going to support him in whatever action he wants to go forward with,” Bauer told the newspaper.
Bauer, 40, and Schreiner, 34, had been together for eight years and previously adopted other children when Marotta responded to their ad and later provided sperm used to artificially inseminate Schreiner, who could not be reached for comment Monday.
“This was a wonderful opportunity with a guy with an admirable, giving character who wanted nothing more than to help us have a child,” Bauer said. “I feel like the state of Kansas has made a mess out of the situation.”
Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families, declined to speak on the matter on Friday, saying Kansas law prevented her from commenting.
Bauer can no longer provide health benefits for the now 3-year-old girl because a “significant illness” has prevented her from working since March. The girl’s birth certificate lists no father, she told the newspaper, and only identifies Schreiner as the mother — as does the birth certificate for each of the couple’s remaining children.
Since Kansas does not recognize same-sex marriage, the women had to file each adoption as a single parent. That law also prevents the state from collecting child support from same-sex partners, despite Bauer’s assumption of financial responsibility for her daughter. Bauer characterized the latest development in the case as a “step backward” in the fight for marriage equality.
“More and more gays and lesbians are adopting and reproducing, and this, to me, is a step backward,” Bauer told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “I think a lot of progressive movement is happening currently in the world as far as gays and lesbians go. Maybe this is Kansas’ stand against some of that.”
Marotta — who has relinquished all parental rights, including financial responsibility, under the 2009 agreement — said he’s preparing for a lengthy legal fight that has already cost him several thousand dollars. He expects it will likely “put a damper on things” for other people considering the same move.
“As the legal bills mount, I’m sure it’s going to leave more of a distaste,” he said. “In the long run, I think this will be a good thing, but I’m the one getting squashed. I can’t even believe it’s gone this far at this point and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.”
Marotta said a hearing on the matter will be held on Jan. 8, at which point he expects to have a hearing date set to appear before a judge.
“The only good thing I can see about this is it’s going to open a lot of eyes,” Marotta told FoxNews.com. “But I’m like, ‘Why me?’”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.