Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Supreme Court sides with same-sex couples in Arkansas suit

Supreme Court sides with same-sex couples in Arkansas suit Supreme Court sides with same-sex couples in Arkansas suit
Alfredo Watts | 27 June, 2017, 09:28

Just today, the Supreme Court ruled that Arkansas officials must list the names of both married same-sex parents on their child's birth certificate. "The same-sex couples want the same presumption applied to the married partner of a woman who gives birth to a child", ABC News explains.

Arkansas said it was a rule of biology that two of the same gender cannot both be parents- the problem with that is the state already lists non-biological parents on birth certificates, as when a woman conceives via artificial insemination and the husband, even if he is known to not be the biological parent, is listed as the father. That reasoning was upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court. "As the Arkansas Supreme Court correctly noted previous year, no child can have two biological mothers, but the Arkansas Department of Health will now be forced to operate as if that is possible because of this court ruling".

The Supreme Court has protected the rights of same-sex parents to be named on their children's birth certificates.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details. In each case, only the birth parent was listed on the certificate. The Court also agreed to take a case about whether a cake shop owner near Denver should be allowed to refuse to create wedding cakes for gay and lesbian couples because of his religiously based opposition to same-sex marriage.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito dissented in a decision that reverses what until now was a space on one's birth certificate reserved for the opposite-sex spouse. Their marriage was officially recognized in NY in 2008 when their home state ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Still, the overall findings show just how far and quickly public opinion has swayed in favor of marriage equality - a trend cemented by the Supreme Court's 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide. The couple challenged an Arkansas birth-certificate policy that defined parents by gender.

The state argued that its law records accurate information about biological parentage, which could be important to a child for future health-related reasons.

'Marriage equality is settled law and protects same-sex parents and their children from discrimination'. Because that differential treatment infringes Obergefell's commitment to provide same-sex couples "the constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage" ... we reverse the state court's judgment.

"It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths", the state court said. It was also an outlier; every other state that had considered this question got it right and ruled in favor of treating LGBT families equally.