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Court rules that gay parents can’t be listed on their children’s birth certificates

Nick Duffy December 9, 2016
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The Arkansas Supreme Court has banned same-sex parents from appearing on the children’s birth certificates without a court order, citing “basic biological truths”.

In a ruling this week, the state Supreme Court overturned a ruling from Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox, who had tried to overturn the law preventing same-sex parents from both being listed on birth certificates in the state.

The case was launched last year, over archaic rules in the state that mean only opposite-sex couples can be automatically listed on a child’s birth certificate, even as adoptive parents. Gay couples are currently required to go to court and obtain a specific order.

However, the conservative-dominated Arkansas Supreme Court affirmed the existing law, citing it as a “biological truth”.

Justice Josephine Linker Hart wrote: “In the situation involving the female spouse of a biological mother, the female spouse does not have the same biological nexus to the child that the biological mother or the biological father has. It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.

“‘Father’ identifies the child’s biological father, and ‘husband’ identifies the mother’s male spouse. The mother’s spouse, or ‘husband’, is entered on the certificate as the ‘father’ of the child if the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth or between conception and birth.”

The ruling insists: “The question presented in this case does not concern either the right to same-sex marriage or the recognition of that marriage, or the right of a female same-sex spouse to be a parent to the child who was born to her spouse.

“What is before this court is the narrow issue of whether the birth-certificate statutes as written deny the appellees due process.

“The purpose of the statutes is to truthfully record the nexus of the biological mother and the biological father to the child.

“On the record presented, we cannot say that naming the non-biological spouse on the birth certificate of the child is an interest of the person so fundamental that the State must accord the interest its respect [under law].”

Arkansas Chief Justice Howard Brill dissented in part from the ruling by – and we’re not making this up – inexplicably quoting two entire verses of Bob Dylan song The Times They Are a-Changin’ in his response.

Disagreeing with his fellow justices, he wrote: “The times indeed are a-changin’. All three branches of the government must change accordingly. It is time to heed the call.”

Related topics: baby, birth, birth certificates, court, Gay, LGBT, US

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