Sperm donor or father? Hollywood actor takes fight to California lawmakers

5:09 PM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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  • Actor Jason Patric with his son Gus.
  • Actor Jason Patric talks to the California state Senate about changing laws on paternal rights on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2013.

SACRAMENTO, CA - Actor Jason Patric is fighting a court's decision to take away his parental rights, calling him nothing more than a sperm donor.

That fight is now at the California Capitol, but many believe it shouldn't be there.

"We raised these children, we love these children, but when these relationships fell apart for whatever reason, they deemed us sperm donors," said Patric, who played Michael in The Lost Boys.

Patric and his now ex-girlfriend decided they wanted a child several years ago. Unable to conceive naturally, they turned to in vitro fertilization. That's how 3-year-old Gus came to be.

But when the couple had a nasty break up, they headed to court for a custody battle. In court, the judge terminated Patric's parental rights, saying that, by law, he was nothing more than a sperm donor.

"I will show you pictures from every single age, preschool forms with father and mother signatures," Patric said. "I'd like to show you all that kind of stuff because that evidence was barred from a California courthouse because I was unfairly deemed a donor."

And that's where the legislature comes in.

There are two laws creating confusion. One saying if you're a sperm donor you have no parental rights. The other saying that if you've acted as the father - in one way or another and can prove it- you can ask for parental rights.

So, Senator Jerry Hill authored Senate Bill 115, to try to clarify the laws. He said the "sperm donor means no rights" law doesn't trump all.

"This legislation is necessary so that judges can take all of the facts into consideration when determining visitation and custody," Hill told the Committee.

Those opposed to the legislation said the bill could cause unintended consequences in other situations, like same-sex couples for instance.

They also said the proposal is for this case, and this case only, and shouldn't even be considered until the appeals process is complete.

"You can't have legislation come to this building that affects one person and that's what that bill was," lobbyist Richard Harris said.

By Nick Monacelli, nick@news10.net


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