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Same-sex parents can now be named on children’s birth certificates after landmark Indiana court ruling

Lily Wakefield January 20, 2020
same-sex parents Indiana

Same-sex couples in Indiana can now both be listed on their children's birth certificates. (Envato)

Married same-sex couples can finally both be listed as parents on their children’s birth certificates, after a legal battle lasting almost three years, an Indiana federal court has ruled.

In June 2016, a federal judge ruled that both same-sex parents could be listed on their children’s birth certificate, in a case brought by eight lesbian mothers.

The couples had argued in their legal action that they were forced to undergo lengthy and costly adoption processes in order for the non-biological parent to be recognised as the legal parent of their own child.

Under Indiana law, married opposite-sex couples were already able to list the husband as the child’s father, even if a sperm donor was used.

Federal district court judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she intended to end the “discriminatory” practice of previously only naming the birth mother on the certificates.

However Indiana’s Republican attorney general Curtis Hill did not agree with the ruling and said that the state would appeal.

Now, almost three years after the case was first heard, The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the original ruling.

According to CNN, the appeals court ruled that by not allowing same-sex couples to be listed on their children’s birth certificates, Indiana was denying them one of “the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage”.

Karen Celestino-Horseman, a lawyer for same-sex couples who originally brought the case, said: “Our clients are delighted. This takes a lot of weight off their shoulders. They’ve been living as families and wondering if this was going to tear them apart.”

Although many Indiana same-sex parents are relieved, the ruling has left the situation vague for male same-sex parents as all the plaintiffs in the case were women.

There is also still the chance that attorney general Hill could appeal the decision again, this time taking the case to the Supreme Court.

One of the plaintiffs told CNN: “It is my hope and prayer that we can move forward with this. It is my hope that it is over.”

More: birth certificates, curtis hill, Indiana, Parenting, same sex parents, sperm donor

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