Same-sex par­ents el­i­gi­ble for birth cer­tifi­cate list­ings

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

Arkansas can­not refuse to list both names of same-sex mar­ried par­ents on a baby’s birth cer­tifi­cate just be­cause one of them is not a bi­o­log­i­cal par­ent, the Supreme Court ruled Mon­day, in a de­ci­sion that sug­gests the ex­tent to which the jus­tices will push their 2015 de­ci­sion on same-sex mar­riage equal­ity.

Arkansas had re­sisted, ar­gu­ing that the birth cer­tifi­cate was a record of parent­age for the child rather than a doc­u­ment about the mar­riage.

But the high court re­jected that ar­gu­ment, say­ing that in sit­u­a­tions where a child is con­ceived from an anony­mous sperm donor, the mother’s hus­band is still re­quired to be listed. Deny­ing that same ac­com­mo­da­tion to same-sex cou­ples vi­o­lates the 2015 Oberge­fell rul­ing that es­tab­lished a na­tional right to same-sex mar­riages.

“The State uses those cer­tifi­cates to give mar­ried par­ents a form of le­gal recog­ni­tion that is not avail­able to un­mar­ried par­ents. Hav­ing made that choice, Arkansas may not, con­sis­tent with Oberge­fell, deny mar­ried same-sex cou­ples that recog­ni­tion,” the court said.

The jus­tices’ de­ci­sion re­versed a state high court rul­ing that had up­held the law.

New Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such wrote a dis­sent say­ing he wouldn’t have been so quick to over­turn the state court and in­val­i­date the law, say­ing the state had rea­sons for want­ing the bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents to be listed on a birth cer­tifi­cate.

Jus­tice Gor­such said that, at the very least, the high court should have given the case a more thor­ough hear­ing, and said noth­ing about the state bi­o­log­i­cal par­ents law clearly de­fies the Oberge­fell rul­ing.

He said if the state’s ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion law is the prob­lem, the court should have tack­led that in­stead. But even then, he said a full hear­ing would have been ap­pro­pri­ate.

His dis­sent was joined by Jus­tices Clarence Thomas and Sa­muel A. Al­ito Jr.

Gay rights groups noted that Chief Jus­tice John G. Roberts Jr., who wrote the chief dis­sent in the land­mark 2015 same-sex mar­riage rul­ing, didn’t join the dis­sent this week.

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