Arkansas Supreme Court halts birth certificates for same-sex partners

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Arkansas Supreme Court Issues Stay On Part Of Birth Certificate Ruling.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily blocked a lower court order that allowed same-sex parents throughout the state to be listed as parents on the birth certificates of their children. It let stand the certificates obtained by three lesbian couples who had challenged the Arkansas Health Department Vital Statistics Bureau’s refusal to identify the three couples as the adoptive or biological parents of their respective children. Health Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel says they’ve now reversed that policy. “Basically this stay means we’ll go back to the way it was before…which means that we’ll require same-sex couples to get a court order to amend a birth certificate,” she says.

The state Supreme Court agreed and said that “the best course of action is to preserve the status quo with regard to the statutory provisions while we consider the circuit court’s ruling.” On Dec. 1, Judge Fox held that a state law restricting parentage identification to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this year legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. “(The) decision affords the plaintiffs, as same-sex couples, the same constitutional rights with respect to the issuance of birth certificates and amended birth certificates as opposite-sex couples,” Fox wrote at the time. Supreme Court decision in June legalizing gay marriage nationwide invalidates a portion of the birth certificate law that defines parents by gender. “The balance of the equities weighs in favor of all same-sex couples having the right to have both spouses listed on the child’s birth certificate when the child was born subsequent to that union,” she wrote. “This is especially true because these respondents are receiving immediate relief while, as a result of the majority’s stay, others will not.” The Supreme Court said in its per curiam order Thursday, “The issues presented are complex, with portions of a statute being struck and substantial additions being made to a provision of the Arkansas Code by the circuit court.

Substantial confusion could result if the circuit court’s order were to remain in effect and subsequently be altered by a decision of this court on appeal.” Justice Paul Danielson said in a two-sentence dissenting opinion that he would have denied the motion for a stay because the state had not demonstrated that a stay was warranted.

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