Arkansas supreme court rules that gay couples can’t be listed on their kids’ birth certificates
The Supreme Court of the US state of Arkansas has ruled that birth certificates will only contain the names of the child’s biological parents.
The ruling has come as a huge blow to same-sex parents who want to be named on the birth certificates of their children.
The court ruled in a case in which it reviewed a lower court’s ruling from December 2015, which had found that the requirement of having the biological mother and father listed on birth certificates was in violation of the constitutional right of adoptive same-sex parents.
In the previous ruling, Little Rock Circuit Judge Tim Fox first sided with three married lesbian couples, and then later extended his ruling to the entire state.
Fox had previously ruled more specifically about three married lesbian couples, but extended his ruling to be more general.
He stated that a law across Arkansas which restricted the names able to be listed on a birth certificate to opposite-sex couples was unconstitutional.
But a four judge panel of the state’s Supreme Court overturned Fox’s ruling, stating that the requirement “does not violate equal protection to acknowledge these basic biological truths.”
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In the majority decision, Associate Judge Jo 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.”
Judge Hart wrote that identifying the biological parents on the certificates is an “important governmental objective” which contributes to tracking public health trends.
In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Paul Danielson said the ruling was “simply and demonstrably wrong”.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Cheryl Maples, at the 2015 ruling, said it was “a wonderful decision”, and that it was what they had been aiming for.
The state had previously argued against issuing birth certificates with same-sex partners, stating that the regulations were established by the state Health Board and Legislature, and would need approval from both to change.
The previous ruling made by Fox meant that the state was forced to record the names of three married lesbian couples on their children’s birth certificates.