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A gay couple denied the chance to have a baby using a surrogate challenged a Utah law’s reference to heterosexual parents Tuesday.

The case came before the Utah Supreme Court after a judge refused to approve the couple’s surrogacy agreement. 

A southern Utah judge cited references to a mother in the law’s requirement that prospective parents prove a woman can’t have children without health serious risk before they turn to surrogacy. 

That discriminates against male same-sex couples who want to start a family, said Edwin Wall, an attorney for the two men who want to remain anonymous. 

A gay couple denied the chance to have a baby using a surrogate challenged a Utah law on Tuesday. The case came before the Utah Supreme Court after a judge refused to approve the couple's surrogacy agreement. Pictured is attorney Edwin Wall, who represents the couple

A gay couple denied the chance to have a baby using a surrogate challenged a Utah law on Tuesday. The case came before the Utah Supreme Court after a judge refused to approve the couple's surrogacy agreement. Pictured is attorney Edwin Wall, who represents the couple

A gay couple denied the chance to have a baby using a surrogate challenged a Utah law on Tuesday. The case came before the Utah Supreme Court after a judge refused to approve the couple’s surrogacy agreement. Pictured is attorney Edwin Wall, who represents the couple

The judge cited references to a mother in the law's requirement that prospective parents prove a woman can't have children without health serious risk before they turn to surrogacy. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Deno G Himonas (right) questions attorney Edwin Wall

The judge cited references to a mother in the law's requirement that prospective parents prove a woman can't have children without health serious risk before they turn to surrogacy. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Deno G Himonas (right) questions attorney Edwin Wall

The judge cited references to a mother in the law’s requirement that prospective parents prove a woman can’t have children without health serious risk before they turn to surrogacy. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Deno G Himonas (right) questions attorney Edwin Wall

The case is a prime example that illustrates the legal complications LGBT couples may face when starting families amid a national patchwork of surrogacy laws. 

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes won’t stand in the couple’s way. State lawyers didn’t appear before the high court and said in court documents that the law should be read as gender-neutral.

Some state Supreme Court justices, though, questioned whether that is enough or part of the law should be struck down.

‘It seems to me we have to resolve this on constitutional grounds,’ Justice John Pearce said.

The panel did not immediately rule following the Tuesday hearing.

While gay couples still face legal challenges on parenthood, the Utah case appears unique in barring a pregnancy before it begins, said Susan Sommer with the national gay-rights group Lambda Legal.

 The case is a prime example that illustrates the legal complications LGBT couples may face when starting families amid a national patchwork of surrogacy laws. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Thomas R Lee questions attorney Edwin Wall who represents the married gay couple

 The case is a prime example that illustrates the legal complications LGBT couples may face when starting families amid a national patchwork of surrogacy laws. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Thomas R Lee questions attorney Edwin Wall who represents the married gay couple

 The case is a prime example that illustrates the legal complications LGBT couples may face when starting families amid a national patchwork of surrogacy laws. Utah state Supreme Court Justice Thomas R Lee questions attorney Edwin Wall who represents the married gay couple

Nationwide, surrogacy laws are a patchwork even for heterosexual couples, she said.

‘Really, the situation is crying out for better, current up-to-date statues that reflect the reality that people are using gestational carriers,’ she said.

The case from southern Utah’s Washington County is not the first high-profile case involving lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents in Utah.

A lesbian couple successfully sued after the state refused to put both their names on their child’s birth certificate in 2015, shortly after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

Later that year, a judge briefly ordered a baby girl removed from another lesbian couple’s foster home so the child could be placed with a heterosexual couple for her well-being. 

That judge reversed the decision after a national outcry.

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