Florida Supreme Court is asked to decide on constitutionality of Florida Statute in a complex, same sex custody battle.
By Leslier Schreiber, Attorney & Counselor
In the case of D.M.T. v. T.M.H., a Florida same sex couple had a child together and ended up in a protracted custody battle. On October 2, 2012 the Florida Supreme Court was asked to decide the constitutionality of Fla. Stat. 742.12 which states, in part, that the donor of an egg or sperm or pre-embryo gives up all maternal or paternal rights to the resulting children. In this case the appellee donated her egg to her partner who gave birth to a child. The oral argument hinged on several factors including whether the informed consent issued by the fertility doctor and signed by the egg donor acted as a release of her parental rights when there was possibly a question of fact as to its legitimacy. In addition, the Court questioned whether the statute excludes same sex couples from creating a family thereby violating equal protection under the law. The justices were also interested in terms of art like “donor”, “informed consents” and medical center “releases”. It will be interesting to see how the Court handles the complex issues in this case.
Leslie Schreiber is an attorney in private practice and devotes much of her time to the ART arena. She is an active member of the American Bar Association Committee on Genetics and Reproductive Technologies. She is licensed in Florida, New York and Washington, D.C. Her website is www.leslieschreiber.com.