Utah bill to allow gay men to enter surrogacy agreements advances

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, listens to colleagues in the Democratic House Caucus, Feb. 21, 2019.

Members of a House Committee voted unanimously Feb. 7 to remove a part of state law that barred gay men from entering a surrogacy agreement.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, is sponsoring HB234 to clean up the state code so it complies with an August ruling by the Utah Supreme Court that found the ban unconstitutional.

“Under the current statute a heterosexual couple can enter into a surrogacy agreement. Two women can enter into a surrogacy agreement — two men cannot,” said Arent.

The current state code still says medical evidence is required to show “that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child.”

Arent said, “In a situation where you have two men that [language] just doesn’t work.”

The state Supreme Court ruled the provision is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process guarantees.

Although the high court’s ruling struck down the unconstitutional provision, Arent said it’s important to update the code.

“People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional.”

Members of the House Judiciary Committee agreed, advancing the amendment to the full House on a 10-0 vote.