Building a family a struggle for gays

Anthony Brown, left, and husband Gary Spino, right, with their son, Nicholas.

It is impossible for gay couples to marry in New York, but it can also be difficult for them to start a family.

West Village resident Anthony Brown spent two years trying to get parental rights over his child, who is the biological son of his husband. Brown, 48, who himself is an attorney who helps gay couples adopt, and his husband, Gary Spino, 48, an office manager, married in Canada in 2005. They wanted children but considered surrogacy too expensive.

Then, a neighboring ill woman who they had taken care of for years died and, surprisingly, left them a stack of cash. “I feel like we kind of won the love lottery,” Brown said.

The money paid for the $160,000 surrogacy process. Using Spino as a biological donor, the couple had Nicholas Christian Brown-Spino, now 19 months old. But the process was an ordeal.

They found an egg donor and then a surrogate who gave birth in North Carolina. Before the baby was born, the two men and the surrogate mom had to sign a legal document agreeing that only Spino would have full parental rights.

But because  North Carolina doesn’t recognize their marriage, Brown had no parental rights over the child.

To legally adopt Christian, Brown needed to pass a criminal background check and have a social worker visit the home.

Only then, finally, were both men able to include their names as parents on the birth certificate.

Even so, the entire process took about two years — something Brown said is a small time frame among the gay couples he knows.

“We were very lucky,” he said.

The Senate challenge

Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell — he represents the Upper West Side and is Rosie O’Donnell’s brother — introduced a bill last week to legalize gay marriage. But he and other gay marriage supporters have their work cut out for them: Previous bills have all passed in the Assembly, but in 2009, a same-sex marriage bill failed in the state Senate by a 38-24 vote. And that was a Democrat-led Senate, which now has a Republican majority.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.