- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - After what he has been through in the past year, William Marotta wouldn’t provide sperm again to a couple wanting to parent a child.

No way.

Not using a physician during the artificial insemination of the mother is the core of a ruling in a civil case bearing Marotta’s initials as the defendant.

Last week a Shawnee County District Court judge ruled in her written decision that because Marotta and a same-sex couple didn’t have a physician artificially inseminate one of the women, Marotta wasn’t entitled to the same protections given sperm donors under Kansas law.

Kansas law requires a doctor to take part in the insemination.

A reporter asked Marotta whether he might provide sperm in the future to a couple in a “conventional” way using a doctor rather than delivering the sperm in cups over three days so a couple - not a doctor - could inseminate the birth mother.

“To me, this was a conventional way,” Marotta said Thursday during an interview at his home. “The Kansas law is stuck behind the times.”

While Kansas law requires physician participation, later versions of the parentage act used in some states have dropped the physician clause.

“In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to conform to the statutory requirements of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties’ self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental rights and responsibilities” to the child, District Court Judge Mary Mattivi concluded.

The judge said she had to follow the “ordinary meaning and plain language” of K.S.A. 23-2208(f) requiring a physician, and the judge couldn’t “look the other way simply because the parties intended a different result than that afforded by the statute.”

The lawsuit was filed in October 2012 by the Kansas Department for Children and Families seeking payment of child support to the child by Marotta.

Marotta, 47, a native Californian, moved to Topeka nine years ago, where he has a full-time job as a factory worker, he said.

Marotta and his wife don’t have any children, but they were foster parents to a teenage girl for several years. Marotta wants to have a positive influence in the life of his foster daughter’s child.

When a Craigslist ad seeking a sperm donor caught Marotta’s eye in 2009, he answered the ad, then told his wife he was thinking about donating and asked what she thought.

It was important to the Marottas that the couple would be able to support the child, court records said. The Marottas were concerned there are too many children who don’t do well because their parents can’t financially take care of them, according to a court document. The Marottas eventually visited Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, who placed the ad, at their Topeka home.

Marotta said he was interviewing them as potential parents as much as they were interviewing him. The Marottas looked at their standard of living, where they lived, how well the home was kept, and three children the two women were caring for, he said in a court document.

It was important to Marotta that as a donor, he wouldn’t be responsible financially for the child in the future and wouldn’t be responsible for the child’s welfare, court documents said.

A day after the court ruling, Marotta repeated he didn’t intend to have a relationship with the girl, now 4. That was part of an agreement in the contract signed by Marotta and the two women.

During a second meeting with the couple, the three signed a contract provided by the couple. The women appeared to be people the Marottas thought would be acceptable parents, a court document said.

From the day the judge’s ruling was filed, the Marotta case continually has snagged local and national news attention.

On Friday, the case was analyzed on CNN and reported by Reuters and CBS News. On Thursday, a newspaper-online reporter was knocking on the door of his Topeka home, and regulars on “The View,” a daily national TV talk show, discussed the case.

The case likely will continue to generate news as Marotta’s attorney, Benoit M.J. Swinnen, promised Thursday he and his client would appeal the ruling.

At some point, the two sides will litigate whether Marotta will pay past and future child care for the youngster.

A status conference in the case will be conducted Feb. 12.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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