Arkansas birth certificate law overturned

Posted on 26 Jun 2017 at 10:30am

Supreme-Court-building-permissionThe U.S. Supreme court struck down an Arkansas law that treated same-sex parents differently than opposite-sex parents on birth certificates.

Arkansas law puts the name of a husband on a birth certificate, even if he is not the biological father. But Arkansas did not allow a non-biological same-sex spouse to be listed on the birth certificate. Two lesbian couple sued when one of the spouses in each couple was not allowed on the birth certificate.

The decision opens by quoting the Obergefell marriage equality decision: “The Constitution entitles same-sex couples to civil marriage ‘on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples.’” The ruling comes on the second anniversary of the marriage equality decision.

Despite marriage equality being the law thanks to the court’s decision issued two years ago this week, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented. Thomas and Alito also opposed the Obergefell ruling. Gorsuch, who was appointed this year, was not on the court for the earlier decision. Chief Justice John Roberts opposed Obergefell, but sided with the rest of the court on placing the nonbiological parent on the birth certificate.

Arkansas’ state Supreme Court upheld state law reasoning it doesn’t violate equal protection to acknowledge biology. Interesting when creationists suddenly believe in science, huh? Especially when husbands who aren’t the biological father are recognized as a parent.

Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Wyoming also have laws that recognize non-biological fathers but ignore same-sex spouses and are affected by this court ruling.

Because of the state marriage equality ruling in Texas, both same-sex parents names have been placed on birth certificates in the state since shortly after Obergefell.

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