When 46-year-old William Marotta of Topeka, Kansas, donated his sperm for artificial insemination to Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009, he thought he was giving the lesbian couple a beautiful gift: A child to call their own. Now, he's fighting a state effort to make him pay thousands in child support even though he signed a contract freeing him from all parenting responsibilities, including financial burdens, from the very beginning.
Why is the state of Kansas after him? Bauer and Schreiner, who broke up in 2010 but still co-parent eight children, filed for state health insurance for their daughter in 2012 after an illness kept Bauer from working. The state, in turn, demanded the sperm donor's name be revealed in order to collect child support from him.
Authorities argue that the contract initially signed between the two parties is invalid because Kansas state law requires a licensed physician to perform the insemination. But because the couple and the donor didn't go through a physician or clinic (they found Marotta on Craigslist; he didn't charge anything), the state contends that the signed agreement is null and void. Marotta, who together with his wife have no biological children of their own, is now being asked by the state of Kansas to cover over $6,000 in medical costs for the young girl.
A mechanic by trade, Marotta says he is "a little scared about where this is going, primarily for financial reasons," and harbors no ill-will towards Bauer and Schreiner for dragging him into the sticky mess inadvertently. "I resent the fact that Jennifer was pressured into doing that in the first place," he tells The Topeka Capital-Journal. "That was wrong — wrong by the state." A hearing on a motion to dismiss the case by Marotta's attorneys, who are volunteering their services at reduced rates, is set for Jan. 8. "More and more gays and lesbians are adopting and reproducing, and this, to me, is a step backward," says Bauer. "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."