Louisiana will this month introduce regulations that prohibit gay couples and single men and women from commissioning surrogacy arrangements in the state, provided Louisiana Governer Bobby Jindal agrees to ratify Senate Bill 162.
The final version of Bill 162 defines “intended parents” as “married persons,” effectively barring unmarried partners and same-sex couples from becoming parents through surrogacy.
Consequently, the legislation has been opposed by a diverse coalition of political, LGBT, women’s rights and religious groups, in what is a deeply conservative and traditional area of the United States.
At present there are no Louisiana state laws relating to surrogacy and, as such, surrogacy arrangements and associated contracts are not recognized by the state. This, proponents of the Bill argue, curtails the legal rights of surrogate mothers, spouses and intended parents alike.
The Bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Gary Smith, is understood to have introduced it largely based on personal experience. He and his wife conceived their two children with the help of an out-of-state surrogate mother.
The Bill’s progress through the legislative process was slowed earlier this year when a Republican state Representative, Frank Hoffman, tried to attach an amendment that, as New Orleans-based newspaper Times Picayanne suggested, ‘would cause the bill to self-destruct’ should the US Supreme Court overturn the Federal Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA).
DOMA has been in place since 1996 and prohibits the Federal Government from recognizing any marriage that is not between a man and a woman, even if gay marriage is legal in the couple’s home state. LGBT groups hope that the Supreme Court will therefore overturn Section Three of DOMA, so that Federal and State laws may be reconciled in respect of marital benefits and programs provided by the Federal Government, including taxation categories, social security benefits, healthcare benefits and hospital visitation rights. The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling on the act this summer.
The removal of the Rep. Hoffman’s amendment to the Senate Bill, which would have identified marriage as only between a man and a woman, keeps the door open to gay couples who wish to commission surrogacy, but only if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns DOMA, therefore requiring Louisiana to recognize gay marriages performed in other states.
Other amendments to the Louisiana bill, including one requiring a doctor’s certification that the use of a surrogate is medically necessary for the parents to conceive, survived a committee review.
The Bill will now make its way to the office of the Governor of Louisiana, whose responsibility it is to sign the Bill into effect, if he so chooses.
If you would like to discuss your situation or you would like more information about surrogacy, please click here or email email@example.com or telephone Louisa on +44 (0)207 222 1244.