(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- During a two-year legal battle, Anthony and Shawn Raftopol, Americans who live in Holland, worried that only one of the men was the legal parent of their young twin boys.
The gay couple married legally in Massachusetts in 2008. Their twins, Sebastiann and Lukas, now two years old, were born in Connecticut through in-vitro fertilization with a donor egg and a surrogate mother.
Anthony Raftopol was the biological father and, under family law, had full parental rights. But when the couple tried to obtain a birth certificate, also naming Shawn, they were told he had no legal claim to the children.
But the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled this week that Shawn Raftopol, 40, has parenting rights, even thought he is not the biological father, because the couple had a valid surrogacy agreement. The court rejected the state's argument that the co-parent would have to go through a second-parent adoption proceeding in order to be listed on the birth certificates.
The decision will have far-reaching ramifications for other couples -- gay and straight -- who choose to have their children through surrogacy.
After the birth, Connecticut's Department of Public Health refused to allow the names of both fathers to appear on the birth certificate. The Supreme Court's ruling affirmed a lower court's order confirming their parentage and requiring the state to issue corrected birth certificates, addressing a new and emerging area of law.
Two partners who sign a surrogacy agreement in Connecticut can now have both their names on the birth certificate, even without a genetic link. Intended parents can get immediate recognition without any other action, even before the birth of the child.
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