California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law that will further strengthen gay surrogacy agreements in California. The legislation will prevent California-parents, including members of the LGBT community, from having their parental rights questioned outside the state by giving California courts jurisdiction over any issues involving the parental rights of Californians who have had children through gestational surrogacy. The law also protects the anonymity of the names of egg and sperm donors in contracts relating to surrogacy.
The law will particularly assist gay couples that use surrogates in states with laws that are discriminatory against LGBT people. Details can be found at the Bay Area Reporter online.
The new law responds to two recent cases in Alabama and Texas, where same-sex couples have had to go to court to defend their parental rights of their babies born by surrogacy. In both cases the babies were born in surrogacy friendly states, but the parental rights were denied by the local court becasue the court issuing the parentage judgment did not have appropriate jurisdiction.
“With LGBT rights threatened in other states, California must again defend and lead the nation in protecting all families, including same-sex couples forming their families through assisted reproduction,” stated San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu, who authored the law. “AB 2349 helps ensure that the progressive protections offered in California regarding parentage rights are respected across state lines.”
One of the only recognized bases for refusing to grant full faith and credit to a court judgment, added Chiu’s office, is to assert that the court rendering the judgment lacked jurisdiction.
The new law provides two simple clarifications to California law that “would help many parents, especially same-sex couples, avoid costly litigation and emotionally distressing situations that could potentially lead to losing their wanted child, as well as protecting California surrogates from another state entering an order inconsistent with California’s legislative scheme,” according to Chiu’s office.