U.S. Supreme Court appeal planned on birth certificate ruling | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

U.S. Supreme Court appeal planned on birth certificate ruling

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 2:24 PM

AP reports that attorneys for same-sex couples will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling denying them the ability to get both spouses listed on a birth certificate without getting a court order.

This is a somewhat convoluted issue. But one part is simple: Heterosexual couples are automatically listed as parents on birth certificates — even when a pregnancy is known to result from donor egg or sperm — but that same presumption is not given to same-sex married couples at the time of birth. It's thus a right of marriage, not about biology, no matter what Justice Jo Hart wrote in a head-scratching opinion in December.

Other states have fixed some of this problem by rule and/or statute. (Complications arise from adding names to birth certificates after marriage or to unwed people.)

It is relatively easy to fix some of this. But Arkansas has refused to move forward since the same-sex marriage ruling and there's an absence of effort in this legislative session to do so. It's easy to conclude that inaction — and the fight generally against equal treatment for same-sex couples — reflects the the embedded bias against LGBT people in the Republican-majority legislature, the Republican attorney general's office and a majority of the Arkansas Supreme Court.


PS: Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office today bragged about being upheld by the state Supreme Court and repeated the assertion that if changes in law are needed, the legislature and not the judge should do it. If she was honest about the willingness to see law changes expressed by her advocated during oral arguments, she could have proposed legislation to accomplish the changes or encouraged a friendly legislator to do so. That has not happened to my knowledge.

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