A gay father claims he is unable to leave Thailand with his infant daughter because the surrogate who gave birth to her objects to the fact he is married to a man.
Gordon ‘Bud’ Lake, from Florida, USA, used a surrogacy agency in Thailand, choosing a suitable surrogate mother and signing a surrogacy agreement.
His daughter, Carmen, was born on January 17 2015, but in an interview with Gay Star News he explained the surrogate is refusing to sign any legal documents – leaving his daughter stuck in Thailand without a passport.
Under Thai law, a woman who gives birth to a child has all legal parental rights over the child, even though Bud is Carmen’s biological father.
After listing Bud as the father on the birth certificate, and allowing Carmen home from the hospital, the surrogate discovered the couple were two men.
Bud explained in an email to Gay Star News: ‘It became apparent that the surrogate had issues with Carmen being raised by what she would later describe as “not an ordinary family”.’
Bud said the surrogate had started to make appearances in the media, making remarks including ‘they are not natural parents in Thai society’, and ‘they are same-sex, not male and female that can take care of babies’.
The American in Bangkok has issued a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which recognizes Carmen as an American citizen – but she will not be able to obtain a passport without the consent of both parents listed on the birth certificate.
Now, Bud explains the authorities want to stop him requesting a passport altogether, because he is ‘not the legal father’ of Carmen.
‘There is a new law that, although outlawing surrogacy for foreign couples, has a temporary provision that states: “husband or wife executing to surrogacy, . . . has right to file a complaint to the Court for ordering a person who was born by surrogacy before this act enforced be legitimate child of husband and wife executing to surrogacy,”‘ he explained.
‘In principle the provision is written to do the right thing and give parental rights to commissioning parents, BUT since it says “husband and wife” we don’t know how they will rule given we are “husband and husband”.
‘We will be forced to go through this court procedure, facing another year and half in Thailand, with complete uncertainty of how this temporary provision will be interpreted.’
In order to cover the mounting costs of legal proceedings, and accommodation in Thailand, the couple are appealing for donations, but they also hope to change the phrasing in the new Thai law so it does not only include ‘husband’ and ‘wife’.
As things stand, Bud says the U.S. embassy are unable to take any further action, so he and his husband are campaigning to get Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on side in order to help speed the decision-making process along.
‘We are involving Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because we think they will be sympathetic to our call, and be able to reason with the right people to be able to initiate this engagement with the Thai authorities,’ Bud said.
‘Carmen is an American citizen and she should be protected by the U.S.
‘Obviously prolonging this whole situation isn´t in the best interest of the Carmen, which is what we believe the Thai authorities will give top priority – what’s in the best interest of the child – in making their decisions.
‘The Thai authorities only need to be given the chance to help.
‘If the U.S. State Department would only let them.’