For at least the third consecutive legislative session, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has filed a bill that would allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both of their names listed on supplemental birth certificates in Texas.
The Texas Health and Safety Code currently states that an adopted child’s supplemental birth certificate may only list one female and one male parent. As a result, the adopted children of same-sex parents are denied accurate birth certificates. This can result in difficulty obtaining passports and Social Security cards or registering for school, according to Equality Texas. And the parent who’s excluded from the birth certificate can be barred from serving as a guardian while traveling abroad, or restricted in ensuring the child has access to government programs or benefits.
“Every child deserves their own family, and every adopted child deserves to have their legal parentage reflected on their Supplemental Birth Certificate,” Anchia said in a release from Equality Texas. “Instead of protecting the rights of children, the current language of the Health and Safety Code leaves these children in legal limbo and inappropriately questions the legitimacy of their parentage.”
“It is time for the State of Texas to honor the health and well-being of all Texas children, including legally-adopted children with two moms or two dads,” said Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith. “It is in the best interests of the children and in the best interests of our state that we work to build strong Texas families, and that literally means ALL Texas families.”
In Louisiana, Lambda Legal challenged a similar law in court, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the LGBT civil rights group’s appeal of a ruling denying same-sex couples accurate birth certificates. As long as the Texas law remains in place, the state is at risk for a similar legal challenge.
Back in July, we profiled one of the many same-sex Texas couples adversely affected by the current law, Kristin and Kami Ransom of Frisco (shown above).
HB 201 is also one of two backed by Equality Texas that have been filed since the first day of pre-filing on Monday. The other, SB 73 by Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, would prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination in insurance. You can track bills supported by Equality Texas here. The 83rd legislative session begins Jan. 8.