Arkansas Supreme Court blocks birth certificates for same-sex couples

By REUTERS
December 9, 2016 02:42

 
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark.  - Birth certificates issued in Arkansas must identify the biological parents even if the child is subsequently adopted by a same-sex couple, a divided state Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

A four-member court majority reversed Little Rock Circuit Judge Tim Fox's finding in December 2015 that the state's insistence on identifying both mother and father were infringements on the constitutional due process rights of adoptive gay and lesbian couples. The state Supreme Court had previously stayed Fox's decision.

The US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, leading Fox to side with three lesbian couples who argued that decision effectively voided Arkansas statutes and regulations requiring a child's biological parents to be listed.

Arkansas has resisted identifying same-sex couples as parents on state birth certificates largely on technical grounds, arguing the protocol was established by the Legislature and the state Health Board and could not be changed without action by either, or both.

"It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths," Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Judge Jo Hart wrote in Thursday's majority decision.

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