HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a gay couple who were denied parental rights by the state after they used a surrogate to give birth to their child.
The court’s decision is being hailed as a victory for both same-sex couples and any other parents that use surrogates.
Anthony and Shawn Raftopol were legally married in Massachusetts in 2008, and used a surrogate to give birth to their twins, Sebastiaan and Lukas, now 2. Because Anthony, 41, was the biological father, he had full parental rights. But when the couple tried to obtain a birth certificate, also naming Shawn, they were told he had no legal claim to the children.
But the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled this week that Shawn Raftopol, 40, has parenting rights, even though he is not the biological father, because the couple had a valid surrogacy agreement.
The court rejected the state’s argument that the co-parent would have to go through a second-parent adoption proceeding in order to be listed on the birth certificates.
The decision will have far-reaching ramifications for other couples — gay and straight — who choose to have their children through surrogacy.
The court’s decision affirmed a lower court’s order confirming their parentage, and requires the state to issue the Raftopol’s a corrected birth certificate. The ruling allows for two partners who sign a surrogacy agreement in Connecticut to have both their names on the birth certificate, even without a genetic link.
The Raftopols have been together for 16 years and used the same egg donor and gestational carrier for the birth of their daughter Zoe in 2006.