By: Paul Goldberg, Staff WRiter
WASHINGTON D.C — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday to reaffirmed its 2015 decision recognizing a constitutional right for same-sex marriage, ruling that states can not treat married same-sex couples differently from others in issuing birth certificates.
As expected, the only dissents in the unsigned ruling were Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
The ruling was on the case involving a Arkansas law about birth certificates that treated married opposite-sex couples differently from same-sex couples. A husband of a married woman is automatically listed as the father even if he is not the genetic parent. Same-sex spouses were not.
Pavan v. Smith, No. 16-992, was brought by two married lesbian couples who had jointly planned their child’s conception by means of an anonymous sperm donor.
Conservative State officials listed the biological mother on the children’s birth certificates and refused to list their partners, saying they were not entitled to a husband’s presumption of paternity.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled against the women, saying that “it does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.”
Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 United States Supreme Court case, listed birth certificates among the “governmental rights, benefits, and responsibilities” that typically accompany marriage.
The plaintiffs argued before the Supreme Court that Arkansas’ approach has serious consequences. “A child’s birth certificate affects parental decision-making authority in the medical and educational context,” their lawyers wrote. “For example, some Arkansas public schools allow only those parents named on the child’s birth certificate to receive educational information absent a court order.”
Lawyers for the state responded by stating that the presumption for fathers was justified because “in the overwhelming majority of cases, the mother’s husband is a marital child’s biological father,” adding that “parental rights flow from biology, not marriage.”
This is yet another positive step towards LGBTQ civil rights.
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