Same-sex couple feels they'll be 'treated equally' after birth certificate ruling

Supreme Court rules on same-sex birth certificate case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Same-sex couples in Arkansas got what they are calling a victory from the U.S. Supreme Court. On Monday, the court ruled 6-3 in favor of two married same-sex couples who conceived their children through anonymous sperm donations. This ruling allows both parents to put their name on the child's birth certificate.

The two couples sued after the state of Arkansas said it would put only the name of the birth mother on the birth certificate, but not her female spouse.

Jana and Leigh Jacobs were plaintiffs in the case. They say they have been treated unfairly under the law with the state not allowing both of their names to be listed on their child's birth certificate.

“If a straight couple uses a sperm donor, the husband of the woman giving birth is still presumed to be the father,” said Leigh Jacobs. “The father doesn't necessarily indicate biology.”

And biology was a major issue that had opponents upset over the decision. Family Council President Jerry Cox released a statement where he said the Supreme Court was "asking Arkansas to ignore basic facts about biology."

Cox claimed that birth certificates "exist to record" the birth of a child and the biological parents of the child.

"No child can have two biological mothers," he said, "but the Arkansas Department of Health will now be forced to operate as if that is possible because of this court ruling."

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also issued a statement disagreeing with the 6-3 decision, calling the Supreme Court's ruling "flawed reasoning" and "strongly" agreeing with the dissenting opinions.

“I will continue to review today’s decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly,” she said.

Leigh and Jana are hopeful about moving forward, especially since Leigh just gave birth to another baby two weeks ago.

“It feels like our family is now going to be treated equally in our state,” said Leigh.    

They say having both names on the birth certificate will make a big difference. They'll both be able to register their children in school, take their children to the doctor, buy them a plane ticket or passport, and more.

The Arkansas Department of Health said they are waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to give a mandate to the Arkansas Supreme Court with guidelines on moving forward. For now, same-sex couples can leave their information with the department and they will be contacted when that process can begin.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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