In what legal experts are calling a precedent, a three-judge panel of the state Superior Court has ruled that a York County man must pay child support for two children of a lesbian couple for whom he acted as a sperm donor.

.Jodilynn Jacob(left) holds daughter Catie,3, with her partner Jennifer Schultz-Jacob. Catie was born after Jacob was artificially inseminated.

In what legal experts are calling a precedent, a three-judge panel of the state Superior Court has ruled that a York County man must pay child support for two children of a lesbian couple for whom he acted as a sperm donor.

Quoting an earlier court decision, Senior Judge John T.K. Kelly wrote that "stepparents who have held a child out as their own are liable for support; biological parents who have exercised the rights appurtenant to that status can be no less bound."

Overturning a Dauphin Common Pleas judge’s ruling in the case, Senior Judge John T.K. Kelly Jr. cited a 2004 ruling by Dauphin Common Pleas Judge Scott A. Evans.

Jodilynn Jacob and Jennifer L. Shultz-Jacob were a couple who lived in York County and who had undergone a commitment ceremony in Pittsburgh and a civil union in Vermont.

The couple cared for four children, two of whom were adopted nephews of Jacob’s and the other two whom she had with Carl Frampton, a longtime friend of Shultz-Jacob’s who had agreed to act as a sperm donor. Frampton is also named as an appellant in the case.

In February 2006 Jacob and Shultz-Jacob separated, with Jacob moving from York County to Dauphin County. The separation was followed by Shultz-Jacob asking a York County judge for full legal and physical custody of all four children.

Later, Jacob asked a Dauphin County judge for child support for two of the children from Shultz-Jacob, arguing that Frampton was "essentially a third parent" to two of the children. Frampton died of a stroke earlier this year.

Kelly noted in his opinion that Frampton had held himself out as a stepparent to the children by being present at the birth of one of the children, contributing "in excess of $13,000" over the last four years, buying toys and borring money to obtain a vehicle in which to transport the children.

"While these contributions have been voluntary, they evidence a settled intention to demonstrate parental involvement far beyond merely biological," wrote the judge.

Via The Patriot News

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