Seeing a single parent caring for their child has become just as common as seeing a married couple doing the same.
But it’s not every day that you see a child with three legal parents. This is the case for a 23-month-old girl named Emma, whose birth certificate was signed by three people: Her lesbian parents and a gay man.
The longtime married lesbian couple, Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo, had tried to achieve pregnancy through clinics but had been unsuccessful, according to The Miami Herald.
Italiano and Filippazzo then decided to ask a gay friend, Massimiliano Gerina, to donate his sperm to the couple.
He agreed to donate, but seven months into the pregnancy, when he was served with the paperwork to sign away his parental rights to Filippazzo, Gerina refused and claimed that the couple had wanted a father for the baby and not just a donor.
The Florida judge eventually ruled that all three parties would be listed on the birth certificate.
But Italiano would have the sole parental authority, while Gerina would have visitation rights.
I feel that having more than two individuals on the birth certificate is perfectly acceptable, especially in situations involving donors.
But in this case specifically, I would have to disagree with the court’s decision. Gerina was wrong to demand rights to the child.
The purpose of donating sperm is to give the chance of parenting a child to those who are unable to do so on their own.
I am not against Gerina having rights to his biological daughter, but an agreement needed to be made in a contract before the pregnancy was started.
My sister, Samantha Jameson, is a 27-year-old lesbian mother who went through the donation process in her previous marriage. What makes her case different is that they made sure their donor signed away his rights before the pregnancy was established.
“I believe that the couple was negligent by not establishing a written contract before the donation,” said Jameson. “But the father is also in the wrong for trying to demand legal rights when a verbal agreement had already been made.”
I believe that none of the parents realize the harm this case can have on the child.
For the next couple of years, the lesbian couple and donor will be competing for the attention of their child.
This case also has potential to return to the courts again in the future if the parents cannot learn to work together.
Italiano has the sole parental responsibility, while Gerina’s visitations must be pre-arranged and are at the discretion of the couple, which could lead to conflict.
Sophomore Taylor Bunker feels the parents are not thinking about the damage this power struggle could do to their daughter.
“Through this case, the daughter has become more of a possession to be fought over, than an actual human being,” said Bunker. “The daughter is now stuck in the middle of a power-struggle.”
I hope for the sake of the girl that the parents are able to make the court’s decision work in a positive way.
Having more than two parents is not what can damage the daughter.
It’s when the parents are not able to work together that the damage is done.
“Plenty of children have been raised by more than two parents, some because of divorce, others through homosexual relationships,” said sophomore Will Cowles Meyer. “But the success of raising a child with multiple parents comes from them being able to do what’s best for the child, not what’s best for themselves.”
These are very critical years for their daughter and if too much time is spent on fighting over parental rights, the daughter herself will be the neglected one.
Published Feb. 27, 2013