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Judge denies Texas dads parental rights to biological twin sons

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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FORT WORTH, Texas — A judge in Texas has denied a same-sex couple’s petition to adopt their month-old twin boys.

KDFW

KDFW

Jason Hannah, 36, and Joe Riggs, 33, are the proud fathers of twins Lucas and Ethan, who were born of the same surrogate mother. Each biologically fathered one of the twins, and the boys — who are half-brothers — share an egg donor. One child is biologically Hanna’s, the other is Riggs.’

But neither Hannah nor Riggs, who were married in Washington D.C. last year, are listed as fathers on either of their sons’ birth certificates. They have petitioned to add each of their names to their biological sons’ birth certificates and to cross-adopt, or second-parent adopt, the boys, reports KDFW-TV.

But the judge, who says she “strictly follows the law,” has denied the couple’s adoption request.

Currently, only the surrogate mother — who has no biological relationship to the boys, since embryos were transferred to her — is named on the twins’ birth certificates.

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.”

More from KDFW-TV:

GLAAD reports that in Texas, and 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 the couple’s, second-parent adoption is much harder to achieve.

Hannah and Riggs were profiled in the Dallas Morning News back in January.

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