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A man petitioned to adopt the biological twins of his husband, conceived with a donor egg and gestated by a woman in Mumbai, India. Although New York law permits children to have two legal fathers and permits a spouse to adopt stepchildren with the biological parent’s consent, a question was nonetheless raised about the validity of this particular adoption: Does New York’s statutory ban on surrogacy prevent a court from using adoption to give effect indirectly to the contractually intended arrangement? A family court judge said no.

In the Matter of J.J.H.C., the judge allowed the co-parent adoption to proceed, correctly deeming the surrogacy agreement that led to the children’s birth legally irrelevant. The anti-surrogacy law is a leftover relic of an earlier time that should be read narrowly until the legislature has the good sense to repeal it.