Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller Family Law associate Mathew Gomez authored an article for The Legal Intelligencer titled, “Parentage for Same Sex-Couples: Conceiving Children on an Uneven Playing Field” on differences in protections for same-sex couple’s parental rights.

Mathew uses a comparison of two cases, Glover v. Junior and In re Baby S., to demonstrate how same-sex couples are required do more to prove and protect their rights as parents than opposite-sex couples. Glover and Junior were a legally married couple who planned and had a child together. During the planning process, the couple took all the necessary steps to demonstrate the intent to conceive a child together when one is unable to be genetically related to the child. During the pregnancy, Glover filed for divorce and Junior filed an emergency petition to establish parentage to the couple’s child. In May, a trial court supported Junior’s petition, but when Glover appealed the decision, the Pa. Superior Court ruled in Glover’s favor.

Mathew compares the Glover v. Junior decision to In Re Baby S., another case the Pa. Superior Court presided over, which addressed parentage when the husband and the wife sought a gestational carrier for the prospective child. The couple entered into many agreements to show that both were intended parents seeking custody and the legal parentage of the child. When they began experiencing marital issues, the wife refused to sign the necessary documents to record her name on the child’s birth certificate, leading to the gestational carrier filing a petition to enforce their contract and related agreements. The trial court and Pa. Superior Court both disagreed with the wife and confirmed that she was the legal mother of the nonbiologically related child.

Mathew observes that the Pa. Superior Court is saying the related contracts were enforceable for an opposite-sex couple, for which adoption was not required, but not enforceable for a same-sex couple, for which an adoption was required. After exploring both cases, he concludes that same-sex couples who want to have children need to put forth extra effort and resources in order to establish parentage while using reproductive services.

Read the article