Supreme Court Rules States May Not Treat Same-Sex Marriage Couples Differently From Others When Issuing Birth Certificates
On Monday, June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court reversed a decision from the Arkansas Supreme Court. The decision that was just overruled by the United States Supreme Court was monumental in that the Supreme Court reaffirmed its 2015 decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, recognizing constitutional rights to same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court ruled that states may not treat married same-sex couples differently from others when issuing birth certificates. The case in question, Pavan v. Smith, concerns an Arkansas law that treated same-sex couples differently than opposite sex-couples.
In Pavan, married lesbian couple had jointly planned their child’s conception by means of an anonymous sperm donor. However, when the parents went to list both moms as parents on the birth certificate, Arkansas state officials would only allow the biological mom to place her name on the certificate. Unfortunately, under Arkansas law, same-sex couples were unable to have a same-sex spouse listed as a parent, whereas an opposite-sex couple could automatically have a non-genetic father listed on the birth certificate. The court ruled this unjust as there was a violation of Due Process and Equal Protection, both guaranteed under the Constitution.
Constitutional Rights To Same-Sex Marriage Couples Upheld By Supreme Court
A few Justices dissented stating that “nothing in Obergefell that a birth registration regime based on biology,” and these dissenters believe this runs afoul of the 14thAmendment. (Slate). Nonetheless, the Supreme Court did rule that same-sex couples will be treated as equal as opposite-sex couples in the rights to marriage and to be named a parent. This U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling is helping to create Equal Protection for all non-biological parents whether they are a same-sex couple or an opposite-sex couple.
We reported about the Obergefellcase in our blog 4 years ago: Ohio Judge Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage Performed In Another State As Legal. We have tried to keep our readers posted on all the significant cases being decided on the ever evolving same-sex marriage issues.
Publisher’s Note: I want to thank our extern, Krystal Rosado, a second year law student at the University of Dayton School of Law, for her research and writing a draft of this summary of this important U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision. Great job Krystal!
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.