The “Marlo Law” has just been signed by gay Colorado Governor Jared Polis to resolve an unfair legal issue that previously denied same-sex parents legal custody over their own children. The bill was named after Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar’s child. Esgar gave birth to Marlo using Heather’s (her wife’s) genetic material. To gain legal custody over their daughter, both women had to legally adopt her.
Esgar commented on this ridiculous kink in the law in a speech earlier this year: “[My wife] realized she actually has more rights to the embryos we still have frozen than she actually has to our daughter. Heather has to adopt her own daughter.”
This issue has impacted a countless number of families, with courts making same-sex couples jump through hoops for their parental right over their own child. Just one example is Megan Anderson, the Coloradan told the state senate that her wife underwent a child abuse background check, was fingerprinted at the police station, paid legal fees of $1,567, then had to plead for her and her partner’s parental rights of her before a judge.
Formally known as H.B. 22-1153, the new law will help streamline same-sex parent’s custody process whose children were conceived by assisted reproduction. LBGTQ parents can now declare a “voluntary acknowledgment of parentage,” which will hold up in court the same as any other parental right. This law change will allow for a more dignified process and removes complicated, expensive, and unfair steps that were previously in place.
“Governor Polis’s signature on this bill is a significant step forward in ensuring the legal recognition of the parent-child relationship for children conceived with reproductive assistance,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement.
“Modernizing the laws benefits many LGBTQ+ people in Colorado as they become parents and create families,” Warbelow continued. “By removing barriers to the legal recognition of parenthood, lawmakers are affirming families and providing greater security to children. We applaud Gov. Polis for taking action to support all Colorado families and celebrate this victory for the LGBTQ+ community.”