AR Same Sex Birth Certificate Case Seeks SCOTUS Review

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A legal fight involving married same-sex couples having the names of both spouses placed on an Arkansas birth certificate could go all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

A petition filed on Monday with the higher court asks for a review of an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling in Dec. 2016 that denied a request of listing both names without a court order. Two same-sex couples, along with the National Center for Lesbian Rights are named as petitioners.

Under Arkansas law, when a married woman gives birth, her husband must be listed as the second parent
on the child’s birth certificate, including when he is not the child’s genetic parent because the child was conceived by artificial insemination.

Back in December, the Arkansas Supreme Court held that the state may deny this right to married same-sex couples. Despite the State’s concession during oral arguments that its “differential treatment [of married same-sex couples] fails equal protection under the plain old rational basis standard,” a divided Arkansas Supreme Court held that the State could permissibly treat married same-sex parents differently under the Birth Certificate Law, based on the absence of a genetic connection between both parents and the child.

The Feb. 13 petition asks whether a State violates the Fourteenth Amendment by denying married same-sex couples the same right afforded to married opposite-sex couples under state law to have the name of the birth mother’s spouse entered as the second parent on their child’s birth certificate.

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