When William Marotta donated sperm to a lesbian couple three years ago, he thought he was doing some good in the world. Answering the couple’s Craigslist ad and waiving the $50 offer the couple gave, Marotta was more than happy to give another couple a shot at raising a family. Now, three years later, the couple has split and Marotta is being sued by the state of Kansas for child support, even though Marotta signed a legal contract with the couple, Jennifer Schreiner and Angela Bauer, stating that Marotta would never be financially responsible for the child.
The good deed came with a hiccup, however; the state of Kansas does not recognize same-sex unions, and when Schreiner and Bauer split, the state of Kansas demanded the name of the sperm donor be revealed when the couple applied for state health insurance for their daughter. Communication Director for Kansas' Department for Children and Families, Angela de Rocha, stated back in January, "In cases where the parties do not go through a licensed physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of the child or children. In such cases, DCF is required by statute to establish paternity and then pursue child support from the non-custodial parent."
The cost for Marotta's unselfish act rounds out at $6,000, something he did not expect when he agreed to help Schreiner and Bauer start their family. Believing that he had been absolved of any responsibility in the upbringing of the child through the legal contract he had signed with the couple, Marotta and his lawyer are fighting to have Bauer recognized as a legal parent of the child. Bauer, not being the birth mother, has not been allowed to be recognized as a legal parent due to Kansas not recognizing same-sex marriages.
Although Schreiner and Bauer have drawn up a parenting plan for their daughter, with Bauer taking care of the girl during the day while Schreiner takes care of her in the evening. This plan would, if approved by the court, resolve any legal matters regarding custody and financial support. When asked if he knew back then what he knows now, Marotta never would have answered the Craigslist ad. He added that he is also trying to figure out how he will pay for his own legal fees. Should Marotta be forced to pay child support for a child he was not legally responsible for, the state of Kansas, through its legal system, is systematically discouraging good deeds like what Marotta did, particularly when the good deed involves helping a couple of the same sex. If we cannot be a country in which all of us are equal or where a legal binding contract is no longer seen as valid if it involves a same-sex couple, then we cannot move forward as a country.
This case comes at a time when Americans are starving for some justice and equality for its fellow citizens, and when most Americans believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples. If Marotta is sentenced to pay the $6,000 fine in back child support, Kansas would be setting a message that the denial of same-sex couples' rights and the turmoil such a situation puts the child through is justified because the state will not bend towards the 21st century.