Published February 07, 2013
A Miami-Dade circuit judge has reportedly approved an adoption allowing three people — a gay man and a married lesbian couple — to be listed on the birth certificate of their 23-month-old daughter.
The Miami Herald reports that Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo, who married in Connecticut, and their attorney, Kenneth Kaplan, declined to be interviewed. The women, according to Miami family attorney Karyn Begin, are longtime partners who unsuccessfully tried to become pregnant via fertility clinics.
“We’re creating entirely new concepts of families,” said Begin, who represented father Massimiliano Gerina in a two-year paternity case involving lesbian friends who had his baby. “If you have two women seeking to be listed as Parent One and Parent Two, that does not exclude listing a man as father.”
Following a verbal agreement, Gerina gave the women his sperm and Italiano conceived. The couple planned for Filippazzo to later adopt the baby and both would raise the child.
According to Florida law, sperm donors have no legal rights in artificial inseminations. But Gerina said he considered himself a parent, not simply a donor.
The women, he claimed, “wanted a father for the baby, not just the sperm.”
Roughly seven months after learning Italiano was pregnant, the women asked Gerina to sign a contract to give up his rights to the child. He declined and hired Begin.
“My papers said I would have parental rights, a visitation schedule,” Gerina said. “They hated it. They said this wasn’t what they wanted. I said, ‘Now that you’re already pregnant, you should have thought about that before.’”
Their daughter, Emma, was born March 10, 2011. The three parents feuded in court for nearly two years. A trial was set for Jan. 31, 2013, but a week earlier, Gerina, Italiano, Filippazzo and their attorneys settled the case privately, the newspaper reports.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Antonio Marin later approved the settlement and the court adoption clerk submitted paperwork for Emma’s new birth certificate, which indicated that Italiano, a retail saleswoman, received “sole parental responsibility,” Begin told the newspaper.
Filippazzo, a financial services professional, legally adopted Emma and the state recognized Gerina as Emma’s father. He was granted time with her for the next two years and overnight visitations will be considered after she turns 4. All visits must be pre-arranged and at the mothers' discretion, the newspaper reports.
“The mothers are in charge,” Gerina said. “I’m just going to spend time with her. They are the parents.”