A Texas family court judge has denied the request of a legally married same-sex couple to adopt their newborn biological twin sons. The judge also denied a petition to list both men — or either — on the children’s birth certificates, even though Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs each biologically fathered one of the twin boys, Lucas and Ethan.
Neither Jason nor Joe are listed as fathers on either of their sons’ birth certificates, which the men have not been able to see. They petitioned a judge in Fort Worth to add each of their names to their biological sons’ birth certificates and to cross-adopt, or second-parent adopt, the boys. The judge has denied the family both requests.
In Texas, as in 17 other states, the law is “unclear” as to whether LGBT parents can jointly adopt, meaning such family protections vary from judge to judge or county to county. Because Texas does not recognize Jason and Joe’s marriage, says the couple, second-parent adoption is much harder to achieve.
“It’s astonishing that in our country, in 2014, loving parents can still be denied basic legal protections for their own children,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “As a gay mother of twins myself, it breaks my heart to think that Joe and Jason’s family has now been put in harm’s way, simply because they live in a state that refuses to respect their legal marriage. Every parent should be able to protect their own child, regardless of who they love or where they live.”
“Actually, I think that’s what surprised me the most was a family court,” Riggs told Dallas-Fort Worth’s KDFW. “I guess I expected them to be looking out for the best interest of our kids, but I felt we walked out that day and it wasn’t in the best interest of our kids.
“Ultimately, we’re talking about is what’s better: one parent or two parents,” Riggs told KDFW. “For me it’s two parents. It’s a no-brainer.”
Watch KDFW’s report below: