LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Three same-sex couples sued Arkansas health officials Monday for refusing to name both spouses on their children's birth certificates, arguing the state is violating their constitutional rights after gay marriage was legalized nationwide.

The married women said in the lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court that the state Health Department would list only the biological mother on the birth certificate, and said they were told they would need a court order to name both spouses. The couples sought the birth certificates after last month's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down gay marriage bans nationwide.

The lawsuit says not providing the birth certificates "(deprives) these children of the dignity, legitimacy, security, support and protections provided to children of heterosexual couples, regardless of marital status."

Health Department Spokeswoman Kerry Krell said it had identified court orders as the best way for same-sex couples to list both spouses on birth certificates as it explores potential changes to its regulations and state vital records laws. Any changes in state regulations would have to go through the Board of Health and be reviewed by the Legislature.

Krell declined to comment on the lawsuit. A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she would represent the department in the case, but declined to comment on the lawsuit.


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