Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black has defended diverse families after a radio caller criticised him and husband Tom Daley for having a baby via surrogacy.
“The only thing I don’t agree with is, it’s been eating away at me for a few years, is I don’t think two blokes can bring a baby up,” the caller told Black.
“You need the mother there. They are very different to us… they are very different, women.
“I don’t have an issue with gay people, I want to make that clear.”
Black responded that families of all shapes and sizes existed, and he himself had been raised by a single parent.
“There are all different kinds of families out there in the world, and for many different reasons – some of them tragic – children are raised by single parents all the time,” he said.
“I’d like to claim myself as one, I was raised by a single mother for some difficult reasons, and she raised me incredibly well.
“Will it be important that our son meets women in his life? Absolutely. That will be there. It would be wrong to deprive a child of that – and frankly bizarre and probably impossible.”
On Valentine’s Day last month, Black and Olympic diver Daley announced that they were expecting their first child this year through surrogacy.
But the news was met with a spate of hateful comments online, and Black asked in the BBC Radio interview why attitudes towards his fatherhood had been more negative in the UK than in the US.
“I have a question, and it’s one I didn’t know I would have to ask two months ago,” he said.
“It’s what is it about surrogacy that bothers some in the United Kingdom?
“In the United States, where we’ve been working with our surrogate, the reception was incredibly warm with almost no exception.
“Perhaps that’s because it’s been going on a bit longer, is understood and has legal clarity around it.
“But here, we heard some things that weren’t so friendly, which suggested there were some misconceptions about what surrogacy is.
“That, to me, has opened this window that has shone some light on how the legal framework here might not be as helpful, as humane or as family-oriented as it is where I come from.”
Black said that he and Daley would be raising their child in the UK, despite the legal challenges it will involve given their surrogate is US-based.
“We would like to raise our son here, but because of that we’re going to face some legal challenges in being considered the parents of our own child when we bring our son back to this country. I think that’s wrong,” he said.
“From the moment of birth [in the US] you are on the birth certificates, which you are not here. That goes for gay and straight couples.
“So it would be a much easier path if we decided to raise our son in the United States, but we love this country, and it’s home for us.”