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Female Same-Sex Parents Now Allowed on Utah Birth Certificates

The Short of It

Angie and Kami Roe of West Jordan, Utah, sued the hospital where their daughter was born for not allowing the names of both mothers on the baby's birth certificate. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ruled in favor of the new parents, which is the first ruling of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down states' same-sex marriage bans.

The Lowdown

With the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision and the state of Utah starting to allow married same-sex couples to adopt and foster children, it's not surprising that wording on birth certificates is being evaluated, too.

The Roes sued after hospital staff members refused to accept their birth certificate paperwork after Kami Roe gave birth in February. Utah officials told the couple that one mother must adopt the baby as a step-parent.

"The state has failed to demonstrate any legitimate reason, actually any reason at all, for not treating a female spouse in a same-sex marriage the same as a male spouse in an opposite-sex marriage," Benson said in his ruling from the bench on the Roe case.

The Utah attorney general's office debated the ruling by saying that child-bearing is different for lesbian couples than heterosexual couples due to sperm donation. One of the women can never be considered a biological parent, which "could throw off state record-keeping and disrupt the ability of authorities to identify public health trends."

The judge refuted by explaining the same could be said of heterosexual couples who choose to start a family by using sperm donation.

The ruling states that same-sex female couples are legally parents from birth. The judgment doesn't apply to same-sex male couples since they typically use a surrogate mother to start a family.

The Upshot

If two women make the decision to start a family, carry a baby and raise the child within the confines of a legally binding marriage, why wouldn't both of the mothers' names be on the baby's birth certificate? When a non-biological child is adopted, both parents' names are allowed on the official documents, so I'm curious, how is this any different?

How about you—are you for or against the ruling?

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