NEW ORLEANS — A same-sex couple in California has won a federal court ruling that their adopted son's Louisiana birth certificate must bear the names of both adoptive fathers.
-- From "Judge: 2 adoptive dads can be named on birth certificate" by Janet McConnaughey, Associated Press 12/27/08
In his ruling Monday, [U.S. District Judge Jay] Zainey said Louisiana's Office of Vital Records must give full faith and credit to the New York State court in which Adar and Smith adopted the boy, he ruled Monday. The office had refused to issue a birth certificate listing both as the boy's legal parents.
[The couple's attorney, Kenneth D.] Upton, of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc. of Dallas, said it is the fourth case of its kind that he knows of. Cases in Oklahoma, Virginia and Mississippi also were decided in the parents' favor — the Mississippi case decided at trial about a month ago, he said.
Refusing to name both fathers on the birth certificate "singles out unmarried same-sex couples and their adoptive children for unequal treatment for the improper purpose of making them unequal to everyone else," said the lawsuit filed by Upton and Regina O. Matthews of New Orleans.
Louisiana law does not let two unmarried people adopt a child together, regardless of sex, wrote Carol L. Haynes, representing the state health department and registrar Darlene W. Smith.
Earlier this month, New York state officials decided to let married same-sex couples list both their names on their children's birth certificates.
Upton said most states have not had problems listing both same-sex parents on an adopted child's amended birth certificate. The difficulties crop up in states that don't allow adoption by same-sex couples, he said, and some registrars question whether a man's name should be in the space labeled "Mother," or a woman's name listed as "Father."
"A lot of states have recently started changing their form so it says 'Parent 1' and 'Parent 2,' which kind of resolves the problem," Upton said.
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