Newborn’s Birth Certificate Will List Gay Man and Lesbian Mothers as Parents
After a two-year court battle, a Florida circuit judge in Miami-Dade County approved a private adoption and will allow a gay man and a married lesbian couple to be listed on the baby girl’s birth certificate, the Miami Herald reports.
Maria Italiano and her longtime partner Cher Filippazzo were married in Connecticut and Miami family lawyer Karyn J. Begin, who represented Massimiliano Gerina, the father of the 23-month-old girl, Emma, told the newspaper that the couple was having trouble conceiving via fertility clinics. The women decided to ask Gerina, a hairstylist, about fathering a child.
"It’s nature - the same reason a woman wants to be a mother," said Gerina, who moved to South Flordia eight years ago and said he thought he could become a father. "It’s not unusual here. Where I am from it’s unusual. I grew up with the mentality that it would never happen," he said. "When I moved here, I saw gay couples, lesbian couples having families."
Gerina donated his sperm and Italiano soon became pregnant. After she gave birth, the women planned for Filippazzo to adopt the newborn and they would raise the child. About two weeks after Italiano found out she was with child the couple called Gerina and asked him to sign a contract.
"When they gave me the paper to sign that I had to give up all my rights to the baby, I didn’t," he said.
According to Florida law, sperm donors do not have any parental legal rights but Gerina says he considers himself a parent and claims the couple "wanted a father for the baby, not just the sperm."
"My papers said I would have parental rights, a visitation schedule," he 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.’"
After Emma was born on March 10, 2011, Gerina and the women faced off in court for nearly two years and a trial was scheduled for Jan. 31. But a week before the trial, the three of them and their attorneys settled privately.
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Jude Antonio Marin approved the settlement and the court adoption clerk submitted paperwork for their daughter’s birth certificate, which lists Gerina, Italiano and Filipazzo as parents of Emma. Italiano, a retail saleswoman is listed as Emma’s "sole parental responsibility," according to Begin, and Filippazzo, a financial services professional, legally adopted the girl.
As for Gerina, the state recognized him as Emma’s father and for the next two years he can visit her twice a week. When she turns four, further visitations will be discussed.
"The mothers are in charge. I’m just going to spend time with her. They are the parents," Gerina said.
"We’re creating entirely new concepts of families," Begin said. "If you have two women seeking to be listed as Parent One and Parent Two, that does not exclude listing a man as father."
The newspaper points out the three adults are considering giving Emma a brother or sister but Begin warns that they need to figure out the details before the women become pregnant.
"God forbid you don’t put together a written agreement," Begin said. "I’ll knock on your door and slap you all."