The United States Supreme Court has reversed a ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court that married lesbian couples must get a court order to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates. The case was brought by two couples who complained that an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against lesbians because the presumption of parenthood, regardless of biological relationship, only applied to a mother’s husband and not to a married female partner. Both couples were issued birth certificates bearing only the birth mother’s name. The US Supreme Court held that the Arkansas court ruling conflicted with its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which legalised equal marriage nationwide, by denying same-sex couples a “constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage”. Dissenting judges disputed this interpretation finding that nothing in that case suggested that a birth certificate regime based on biology is unconstitutional. The court sent the case back to the Arkansas Supreme Court to review the decision, and the Department of Health has indicated that it will collect information from same-sex couples who wish to amend their children’s birth certificates.
Arkansas birth certificate law: discrimination against lesbians