A Craigslist sperm donor who signed away his parental rights for the daughter he helped a lesbian couple to conceive, is now being ordered by Kansas to pay child support.
William Marotta told FoxNews.com he might never have agreed to provide sperm to Angela Bauer and her former partner, Jennifer Schreiner, had he known what awaited him after responding to the women’s Craigslist ad for a donor in March 2009.
Bauer, 40, and Schreiner, 34, had been together for eight years when Marotta responded to their ad.
"This was a wonderful opportunity with a guy with an admirable, giving character who wanted nothing more than to help us have a child," Bauer told the Capital-Journal.
The women described themselves in an email to Marotta as "financially stable lesbian couple," with Bauer working outside the home and Schreiner being a stay-at-home mom with their other children.
"We are foster and adoptive parents and now we desire to share a pregnancy and birth together," Bauer wrote.
Marotta, Bauer and Schreiner signed an agreement saying Marotta would have no parental rights whatsoever with the child or children.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the agreement also called for Bauer and Schreiner to hold Marotta harmless "for any child support payments demanded of him by any other person or entity, public or private, including any district attorney's office or other state or county agency, regardless of the circumstances or said demand."
That's why the 46-year-old mechanic from Topeka was shocked when he received notice in late October that he was being targeted by Kansas Department for Children and Families to pay child support.
Agreement is moot
In 2010, the couple, who continue to co-parent eight adopted children ranging in age from 3 months to 25 years, broke up, raising the issue of who would pay child support for the little girl, according to the Capital-Journal.
Then, earlier this year, Bauer, who had been supporting Schreiner and the children, became unable to provide health benefits for the three-year-old, due to a “significant illness” that prevented her from working, and the couple applied for state services.
"My understanding is that after being pressed on paternity of the child, she gave them William's name as a sperm donor. The state then filed this suit to determine paternity," said Marotta's attorney, Hannah Schroller.
State officials argued that if the women did not identify the donor, the agency would deny health benefits due to withheld information, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
How about the agreement? The state contends the agreement is moot because those involved failed to meet the requirement of Kansas statute 23-2208(f) — that Schreiner have a licensed physician perform the artificial insemination.
But Schroller argued in court documents that if a donor is free of parental responsibility only when a doctor performs an insemination, "then any woman in Kansas could have sperm donations shipped to her house, inseminate herself without a licensed physician and seek out the donor for financial support because her actions made him a father, not a sperm donor. This goes against the very purpose of the statute to protect sperm donors as well as birth mothers."
Kansas doesn't recognize same-sex unions
And because Kansas doesn't recognize same-sex unions, the couple had to file each adoption as a single parent. That law also prevents the state from collecting child support from same-sex partners, even though Bauer volunteered to assume financial responsibility for her daughter.
To collect child support from Bauer would mean recognizing her as a parent — opening the doors, she said, to increased legal rights for gays and lesbian parents.
"More and more gays and lesbians are adopting and reproducing, and this, to me, is a step backward," Bauer said. "I think a lot of progressive movement is happening currently in the world as far as gays and lesbians go. Maybe this is Kansas' stand against some of that."
Angela de Rocha, spokeswoman for the Department for Children and Families, said Friday that Kansas law prevented her from commenting on the case.
“I have a hunch part of the reason this is going this way is because of people’s feelings toward same-sex couples,” Marotta said in an exclusive interview with FoxNews.com. “I can’t help but feel this is somewhat of a political issue.”
Marotta is seeking to have the case against him dismissed. A hearing on Marotta's motion to dismiss the case is scheduled Jan. 8 in Shawnee County District Court.
“The only good thing I can see about this is it’s going to open a lot of eyes,” Marotta told FoxNews.com. “But I’m like, ‘Why me?’”