JERSEY CITY, N.J., Dec. 20 (UPI) — A New Jersey judge has given a gay couple custody of twin girls conceived under a surrogacy agreement between one of the partners and the other’s sister.
Angelia Robinson, who was declared the girls’ legal mother even though she is not biologically related to the twins, was granted visitation rights, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported. She was implanted with a donor egg fertilized by Sean Hollingsworth.
Hollingsworth and Donald Robinson Hollingsworth live in Jersey City. They were married in California.
The case was in some ways a re-run of the landmark Baby M dispute a quarter-century ago. Robinson was represented by Harold Cassidy, the lawyer who represented Mary Beth Whitehead in her fight for custody of the girl she bore under a surrogacy agreement.
In his ruling last week in Hudson County Superior Court, Judge Francis Schulz commented on the difficulties of the case.
“The parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the children is non-existent here,” he wrote. “They hardly speak verbally to each other and there is little communication in writing. They disagree on what school the children should attend, what religion the children should be brought up in, and what they should be told about surrogacy, what they should be told about the gay lifestyle and there is uncertainty as to how the children will be instructed as to their biracial heritage.”
While Robinson agreed to carry the children, in what turned out to be a difficult pregnancy, she later said she was coerced. She said at the time she was out of work and dependent on her brother.
Schulz said the children, now 5, have a stable life with the two men.