Gay D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) on Jan. 8 introduced a bill to legalize surrogacy parenting in the city, drawing praise from LGBT activists who say the measure will benefit same-sex couples interested in having children.
All 12 of Catania’s Council colleagues signed on as co-sponsors to the Surrogacy Parenting Agreement Act of 2013.
“Surrogacy agreements are increasingly used by aspiring parents who are unable to have children by traditional means,” Catania said in a statement. “These often include couples unable to have children or who face unique health risks, same-sex couples, or single individuals who wish to raise children,” his statement says.
Catania noted that surrogacy agreements are currently prohibited by law in D.C. and those found to enter into such agreements in the city can be fined up to $10,000 and face up to a year in prison.
“District laws should encourage responsible parenting, not create obstacles for those hoping to raise children but who are unable to do so by traditional means,” he said.
Catania’s bill has been assigned to the Council’s Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6).
Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, praised Catania for introducing the measure. He told Catania in an email that GLAA, American University law professor Nancy Polikoff and D.C. attorney Michelle Zavos – who are considered experts in LGBT family law – would be working with Wells and Catania to help “get all the details right” on the legislation.