Both the Alliance Defense Fund & Keys for Networking, Inc. filed Amicus Briefs in the United States Supreme Court in support of attorney Jeffery M. Leving’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari. Leving filed the Petition for Writ of Certiorari on behalf of Daryl Hendrix, a Topeka sperm donor, to protect Daryl’s constitutional rights to parent his twin children.
Mr. Hendrix donated his genetic material to attorney Samantha Harrington, who conceived their twins who are now three years-old. The case explores vast uncharted territory in the law where there have been inconsistent rulings on the rights and obligations of sperm donors from one court to another in this nation. “This case will have significant ramifications on the future of fathers’ rights and reproductive technology. When we reach a point in society when a father has been reduced to nothing more than a genetic vending machine, then we have reached a point of hopelessness for our children. We should be encouraging fathers to be constant figures in their children’s lives instead of legally baring their fundamental human right to parent,” states Leving, “we must not forget that any man’s loss of his children diminishes mankind,” he added.
Mr. Hendrix initially petitioned the Shawnee County District Court in Kansas to afford him parental rights and provide for his son and daughter financially. Ms. Harrington countered by filing a paternity action. Mr. Hendrix maintains that he and the mother, Ms. Harrington, had an oral agreement to co-parent their children together. Both of those cases were dismissed by a district court judge, prompting Hendrix to appeal the decision in the Kansas Supreme Court. The Kansas Supreme Court decided, 4-2, that a sperm donor must have a written agreement with the mother in order to exercise any parental rights. That decision annihilated Daryl’s inherent rights as a father and treads dangerously on redefining fatherhood.
On Monday, March 17, 2008, attorneys for Hendrix appealed to the United States Supreme Court, asking for the ruling of the Kansas Supreme Court to be overturned. This appeal will clearly be a landmark case that will determine the future of reproductive technology, alternative child conception, and advancement of fathers’ rights. “Mr. Hendrix’s case deserves to be heard in our nation’s highest court and their decision can guide the future of reproductive technology. We want to make sure that Mr. Hendrix’s children know that they have a father who loves them, who will support them emotionally and financially. We want the children to know that they have a father who will spend time with them and help to raise them and that they did not just spring out of a test tube,” states Andrey Filipowicz, co-counsel with Jeffery M. Leving.
In a similar case in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the verbal agreement between the sperm donor and the mother was “valid on its face” and that ‘Biological parents cannot waive the interests of a child — a third party — who has an independent "right" to support from each one of them.’ The Court ordered the sperm donor to pay over $1500 a month in child support, even though he was not named as the father on the birth certificate of the children. A British Court had a similar finding in the case of a man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple.
Attorney Jeffery M. Leving states, “The legal system has not kept current with science and reproduction technology and its effects on the changing American family. The U.S. Supreme court now has the opportunity to correct this flaw in our judicial system and protect an important relationship between a loving father and his children”. Leving is a nationally renowned litigator, advocate of fathers’ rights and founder of dadsrights.com.
For more information on the case and all media inquiries, please contact Carrie Klepzig at 312-807-3990, ext. 255 or 312-730-5864 (mobile).