Arkansas Department of Health to issue same-sex birth certificates

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Arkansas Department of Health to issue same-sex birth certificates

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Arkansas law which forced same-sex wives to have a court order to be listed on their children’s birth certificates.   

The Arkansas Department of Health has announced that same-sex couples married at the time of artificial insemination no longer will need a court order for the spouse of the woman giving birth to be added to the child’s birth certificate and will also add a second parent to previously issued birth certificates which had only listed the women giving birth.

“The ruling came in an unsigned opinion from the court. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented,” reported Richard Wolf of USA Today. “In a rare practice following the high court’s 2015 decision striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, some states put the husbands of new mothers on birth certificates even if they are not the biological fathers while making no provision for same-sex spouses.”

The plaintiffs in the case were two lesbian couples who argued that the birth certificate process in Arkansas was discriminatory to married lesbians. They wanted the same birth certificate rights as heterosexual couples, no exceptions.

“The Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the ‘constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage,'” the court wrote referring to the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges same-sex marriage ruling.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, one of the attorneys who won the same-sex marriage victory, explained that if Arkansas upheld this law, it would “once again relegate same-sex couples and their families to the stigma, injury, and inequality of ‘second tier’ status.”

In a statement, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge shared that she did not agree with the final ruling.

“Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has spoken, and I will continue to review today’s decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly,” she said in her statement.