Supreme Court Upholds Same-Sex Parents Birth Certificate Rights (6/26/2017)


 

Supreme Court Upholds Same-Sex Parents Birth Certificate Rights (6/26/2017)
 


19 July 2017 at 7:39:52 AM
salon

Several decisions came out yesterday from the Supreme Court of the US. One of them was about whether a state could treat same sex couples differently than opposite sex couples on children's birth certificates. The answer is NO.Case was from Arkansas

USAToday

In a rare practice following the high court's 2015 decision striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, some states put the husbands of new mothers on birth certificates even if they are not the biological fathers, while making no provision for same-sex spouses.

The challenge was brought by two female couples in Arkansas, where health officials refused to list the non-biological spouse on a newborn's birth certificate — even though state law requires that husbands who are not the biological fathers receive that status.

Here's the PDF

The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the “constellation of benefits that the Stat[e] ha[s] linked to marriage.” Obergefell , 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 17). As already explained, when a married woman in Arkansas conceives a child by means of artificial insemination, the State will—indeed, must —list the name of her male spouse on the child’s birth certificate. See §20–18–401(f )(1); see also §9–10–201; supra, at 2. And yet state law, as interpreted by the court below, allows Arkansas officials in those very same circumstances to omit a married woman’s female spouse from her child’s birth certificate. See 505 S. W. 3d, at 177–178. As a result, same-sex parents in Arkansas lack the same right as opposite-sex parents to be listed on a child’s birth certificate, a document often used for important transactions like making medical decisions for a child or enrolling a child in school. See Pet. for Cert. 5–7 (listing situations in which a parent might be required to present a child’s birth certificate).

Obergefell proscribes such disparate treatment. As we explained there, a State may not “exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.” 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op.,   at 23). Indeed, in listing those terms and conditions—the “rights, benefits, and responsibilities” to which same-sex couples, no less than opposite-sex couples, must have access—we expressly identified “birth and death certificates.” Id., at ___ (slip op., at 17). That was no accident: Several of the plaintiffs in Obergefell challenged a State’s refusal to recognize their same-sex spouses on their children’s birth certificates. See DeBoer v. Snyder , 772 F. 3d 388, 398–399 (CA6 2014). In considering those challenges, we held the relevant state laws unconstitutional to the extent they treated same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples. See 576 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 23). That holding applies with equal force to §20–18–401. 

 

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