01 January 2013

The Price Of Giving Up His Seed In The Sunflower State

I can just see it now:  Millions of straight men petition their legislators to legalize same-sex marriage.

What will bring about such a change?, you ask.

Well, something that happened in Kansas just might do the trick.

You see,  in the Sunflower State, a lesbian couple wanted to have a child.  So they advertised on Craigslist for a sperm donor.  One stepped up.  They offered him money, which he refused.  He also signed away any parental rights.  

Now, I'm not a lawyer, and I know absolutely nothing about Kansas law (except for one thing, which I'll mention later).  Still, I would have guessed that he would not have any financial responsibility for the child he sired.  

As it turns out, though, there were two plot complications, if you will, to this story. One is that same-sex marriages are not performed or recognized in Kansas.  The other is that the insemination was done by someone who wasn't licensed to do the procedure.

Now, you might say that the man and the couple should have checked the credentials of the person who did the procedure.  I wouldn't disagree, although I can understand why they--especially he--didn't.  It probably never occurred to any of them that the state would declare their agreement invalid because of the practitioner's lack of credentials.  I myself doubt that I would have thought a state would do such a thing.  

But the real reason why, according to some critics, the state is going after William Marotta, the sperm donor, is to strike a blow against gay marriage, which almost no one expects Kansas to legalize any time soon.  You see, as a result of the legal situation in that State, Jennifer Schreiner is the only child's only parent.  As a result, her now-ex-partner, Angela Bauer, has no financial responsibility for that child.  In any event, she's unable to provide it because an illness has stopped her from working.

After Bauer could no longer provide support, Schreiner applied for public assistance for her child. The state made that aid contingent on support from Marotta and forced Schreiner to identify him as the sperm donor.  Naturally, Marotta and his lawyer are arguing that, whether or not the contract is valid, he is nothing more than a sperm donor and therefore has no legal obligation to support the child.

The scenario I presented in the first sentence of this post probably won't come to pass, even though increasing numbers of straight men (and women) support gay marriage, even in states like Kansas.  On the other hand, if the state of Kansas were to make Marotta pay, I could envision many men deciding they don't want to be sperm donors after all.  I could hardly blame them.   At one time in my life, I thought about becoming a sperm donor, purely for financial reasons.  I decided against it, in part,  because I really did not want to help bring more children into this world.  I also realized that my sperm probably wasn't terribly valuable:  If a man's sperm could fetch a large sum of money, he probably doesn't need it! 

And now I think of what it might have been like to be paid a pittance for my seed and later to be forced to pay child support.  I really hope Marotta wins his fight.