N. Texas gay couple facing adoption battle - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

N. Texas gay couple facing adoption battle

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A North Texas gay couple with two newborn boys is experiencing the exciting new world of parenthood, but when it comes to adopting each other's child, they’re finding out, it's not easy.

"Fatherhood is absolutely amazing,” said Jason Hanna. “We have been blessed with two healthy little boys."

Hanna and Joe Riggs are proud fathers. Babies Lucas and Ethan were born of the same surrogate mother. One child is biologically Hanna’s; the other, Riggs’.

What they want now is for the State of Texas to recognize them as a family.

FOX 4 interviewed Hanna and Riggs in February. They were excited by the U.S. Supreme Court overruling the Defense of Marriage Act.

But even though they were married in D.C., they've learned that little has changed in Texas.

Wednesday, a judge denied their petition to adopt each other's child.

"On one hand, it's a little scary because as of right now, we don't have full parental rights of our own biological children,” said Hanna.

"Actually, I think that's what surprised me the most was a family court,” said Riggs. “I guess I expected them to be looking out for the best interest of our kids, and I felt we walked out that day and it wasn't in the best interest of our kids."

Longtime Dallas adoption lawyer Suzanne Lomenick is not involved in the case, but says since Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages, family law can be interpreted differently by judges.

“It all turns on the marriage issue, so adoptions….of this nature have been granted in courts here,” said Lomenick. “It is allowable and it is discretionary with the court."

"Ultimately, we're talking about is what's better: one parent or two parents?” said Riggs. “For me, it's two parents.  It's a no brainer!"

FOX 4 spoke with the judge who made the ruling.

She says she couldn't grant the adoption at this time.

The couple's attorney says it's likely because of the way the petition was written, but the judge wouldn't talk specifics.

The judge did say she “strictly follows the law."


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