Sperm donor to lesbian couple fights state's demand for child support

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William Marotta

A Kansas man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple is fighting state efforts to force him to pay support for a child conceived through artificial insemination.

William Marotta told The Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper he’s “a little scared about where this is going to go, primarily for financial reasons.” He said the case has already cost him 10 percent of his annual salary.

Marotta called the case against him politically motivated by the Republicans who control the state’s government and who disapprove of gay couples having children. He said the case would discourage other men from donating their sperm. Topeka is the home of Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious group that hosts the "God hates fags" website and pickets at military funerals.

When the 46-year-old donated sperm to Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner in 2009, Marotta relinquished all parental rights, including financial responsibility to the child. When Bauer and Schreiner filed for state assistance in Kansas this year, the state demanded the donor’s name so it could collect child support for the now 3-year-old girl.

The state contends the agreement between Marotta and the women is not valid because Kansas law requires a licensed physician to perform artificial insemination.

“If a sperm donor makes his contribution through a licensed physician and a child is conceived, the donor is held harmless under state statue. In cases where the parties do not go through a physician or a clinic, there remains the question of who actually is the father of a child or children,” Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families, said in a statement.

A hearing on a motion by Marotta’s attorneys to dismiss the case is scheduled for Jan. 8

Bauer and Schreiner have said they fully support Marotta’s efforts to fight the state’s request. When Bauer was diagnosed in March with what she calls “a significant illness” that prevents her from working, Schreiner sought health insurance for their daughter from the state. The DCF told Schreiner if she didn’t provide the sperm donor’s name, it would deny any health benefits because she was withholding information.

Marotta said he doesn’t resent Schreiner for giving the state his name.

“I resent the fact that Jennifer was pressured into doing that in the first place,” he said. “That was wrong – wrong by the state.”

Marotta and his wife, Kimberly, have no biological children but care for foster children.