Indiana Asks SCOTUS to Review Birth Certificate Ruling That Sided With Same-sex Couple

A gavel and law books. Photo via Flickr

(WM) Indiana’s attorney general’s office is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court’s ruling that sided with a gay married couple who challenged the state’s birth records law.

The petition, filed June 15, comes after the appeals court ruled in January that same-sex couples should have the same rights as other couples to be named as parents on birth certificates without having to go through the expense of an adoption process.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed a lower court’s ruling and sided with Ashlee and Ruby Henderson of Lafayette by finding that the state should recognize the couple’s children as their own.

Tom Fisher, solicitor general for Indiana, said in the state’s petition with the high court that the lower courts misinterpreted the intent of Indiana’s laws surrounding paternity and parental rights by extending presumption that a husband is the biological parent – “in absence of contrary evidence” – to the wife of a biological mother, the Journal & Courier reported.

The Hendersons’ Indianapolis-based attorney, Karen Celestino-Horseman, expressed disappointment that “Indiana continues to fight against families headed by same-sex spouses.”

“The Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue, and yet Indiana continues to expend resources fighting against same-sex marriage,” she said.

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a similar case out of Arkansas that revolved around married couples who conceive through artificial insemination. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the “constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage” extended to having the names of same-sex parents on a birth certificate.

The Hendersons, who wed in 2014, filed a lawsuit in 2015 after the Tippecanoe County Health Department denied them a birth certificate for their son with both of their names. They alleged that local and state health officials discriminated against them when county officials declined to put both of their names as parents on their son’s birth certificate.

The county at the time allowed only Ruby Henderson, the birth mother, to be listed as a parent.


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