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Bill to remove legal and financial barriers to parenthood for same-sex couples

Heather and Marlo.jpg
Posted at 6:48 PM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 01:11:17-05

DENVER, Colorado — Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would remove many of the legal and financial burdens that same-sex couples face when starting a family.

State Representative Daneya Esgar and her wife Heather Palm learned about those burdens firsthand with the birth of their daughter, Marlo. Palm underwent cycles of in vitro fertilization in 2019 to start their family.

"It required me to drive from Pueblo for 15 minutes appointments every other day for ultrasounds and blood work. I would then get back into my truck and drive to Pueblo to start my clinical rotation," she said during testimony to the House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday.

She said it shocked her to learn last year that she would need to go through the adoption process in order to be legally considered Marlo's parent.

"I began looking into this further and was completely shocked to find out that not only would I have to adopt my own child, but I would also have to adopt her as if I were her step-parent," Palm told the committee.

Esgar is the spouse who carried Marlo to term. Under current state law, she alone is legally considered Marlo's mother.

"It broke my heart to know that I had more rights over our daughter than Heather did," Esgar said. "We created this baby together."

Esgar is co-sponsoring House Bill 22-1153 which would remove many of the burdens the adoption process carries such as mandatory home inspections, parenting classes, finger-printing, and criminal background checks when a child is conceived as a result of assisted reproduction.

"This bill, although it doesn't make everything as equitable as it should yet, it takes us one step closer to making the process easier," Esgar said.

The bill passed the committee by a vote of 10-2 on Tuesday. It cleared it's second reading the House with amendments on Friday and is scheduled for a floor vote on Monday.
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