The Louisiana House of Representatives has given its final approval to a bill that would block unmarried and gay couples from becoming surrogate parents, reports The Times-Picayune. The final vote was 87-9. The bill now moves to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal for signature.
The bill would set up surrogacy contract rules in the state as well as define who is eligible to enter into such contracts. The final version of Senate Bill 162 defines "intended parents" as "married persons," thus barring unmarried partners and same-sex couples from becoming parents through surrogacy.
Louisiana law currently states any surrogate contract in the state is "unenforceable" and absolutely null and void, which proponents of the bill says has led to problems surrounding the legal rights of surrogate mothers, their spouses and the intended parents.
Opponents to the bill include the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Louisiana Family Forum, who contend that surrogacy is "anti-life" because the process involves the creation of embryos that are never implanted. On the other side of the political spectrum, Kathleen Sloan of the National Organization for Women, or NOW, and Jennifer Lahl from the Center for Bioethics and Culture also came out against the bill, saying it "turns women into exploitable commodities through financial inducement."
The conference committee also rejected an amendment that would have voided the bill if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Essentially, that would have meant that no one would have become eligible for surrogate parenting if same-sex couples were suddenly eligible. Equality Louisiana opposed the legislation but thanked the conference committee for rejecting "legislative gay-bashing [and an] unnecessary and mean-spirited amendment."
So much for "what about the children" ...