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1 Year Later, Both Parents In Same-Sex Couples Have Legal Rights

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(credit: CBS) Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield
Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield never imagined she'd be in the Tw...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been over a year since same sex couples have been allowed to legally wed in Minnesota.

And in the months since gay marriage has been legal, for some couples, like Tara Beutelspacher and Amy Strohman, the process of starting a family has changed, as well.

Tara is Lincoln’s mom

So is Amy.

A journey marked by ups and downs

“That’s what I call it, it was a journey. And I just embraced the experience. I was so excited because I’d never been pregnant before, I was like ‘Oh this is so interesting,'” Tara said.

In 2009, the couple met after going toe to toe in a local hockey league.

In 2011 they got married. It wasn’t legal in Minnesota yet, so they went to Iowa.

Their next step was a family.

“I just put it out there. I’m no spring chicken, we need to roll if we are going to make this happen,” Tara said.

At 47, Tara fulfilled her dream of delivering a baby, a process that started at the University of Minnesota Reproductive Medicine Center.

She was able to carry but because of her age, Amy’s eggs were used with a donors’ sperm, then implanted in Tara.

“It’s been just an amazing experience because it’s something I never thought would happen for me,” Tara said.

It was also a trying experiencing.

Before the delivery, their attorney gave them some news.

“He just said it this way, “If you die on the table, Tara, Amy won’t have any rights to take your baby even though she’s 100 percent his mother,” Tara said.

Because their marriage was not yet recognized in Minnesota, they had to hire attorney after attorney for Amy to be able to adopt and have parental rights.

“So around August 30 is when I actually had full parental rights, and that was five months after he was actually born,” Amy said.

They weren’t alone.

“I think more and more same sex families are probably looking to create families using some of the services that we offer,” U of M doctor, Dr. Phipps, said.

Dr. Phipps says there’s been a slow increase in same sex couples, and he says the In Vitro or surrogate options are plentiful.

He helped Amy and Tara find theirs.

“Limitations are really no different than they would be for anybody else. Basically, we’re not treating people differently,” Phipps said.

What is different, now that same sex marriage is legal in Minnesota, is how the laws treat them.

The couple’s started IVF again, Amy will carry this time.

“I won’t have to technically adopt our next child,” Tara said.

Unlike Lincoln, now Minnesota babies with two moms or two dads will have two legal parents from day one.

Making the prospect of siblings a bit simpler.

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