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In what could be a landmark case, a Florida judge has given approval for a gay man and a married lesbian couple to all collectively be listed on the birth certificate of a 23-month-old girl.
As The Miami Herald reports, moms Maria Italiano and Cher Filippazzo are longtime partners who unsuccessfully attempted to become pregnant through professional fertility clinics before enlisting gay friend Massimiliano “Massimo” Gerina to donate his sperm. Their daughter Emma was born on March 10, 2011.
Although a number of media outlets are hyping the case as involving three parents, attorney Kenneth Kaplan stresses that only Italiano and Filippazzo have true sole parental responsibility, while Gerina will receive select rights such as weekly visits with the child. The couple had always planned for Filippazzo to adopt the baby after Italiano became pregnant.
But when he was served with legal papers that would have given away any legal rights as Emma's guardian, Gerina argued that the women claimed they sought a father for the baby as well.
"It is a kind of a modern family, but I’m very old style," he was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying. "I believe that kids should have both a male figure an a female figure."
Though the settlement follows what turned out to be a two-year paternity battle, Miami family lawyer Karyn J. Begin, who represented Gerina, nonetheless praised the decision as establishing an "entirely new concept" of a family.
"If you have two women seeking to be listed as Parent One and Parent Two, that does not exclude listing a man as father,” Begin said. "There are three parties involved. I agree that makes the case unique."
Gerina also told the Herald, "The mothers are in charge. I’m just going to spend time with her."
Before It's News blogger Javier Manjarres was critical of the case, noting, "This story about three gay individuals feuding over adoption rights given to them by a Florida judge to raise a two-year old infant will probably not end well, considering that now the young girl has three parents vying for her attention and acceptance...Hopefully these two parties will realize that the scope of their individual responsibility now includes the caring of an infant."