Gay Parents Fight to Get Both Their Names on Son's Birth Certificate

Filed under: Adoption, Gay Parenting, In The News

supreme court

Fathers want to take their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Credit: Karen Bleier, Getty Images

A gay couple in California wants both their names to appear on their son's birth certificate as his adopted parents.

However, their 5-year-old son was born in Louisiana, a state that frowns upon adoption by same-sex couples. State law only allows one name.

So, CNN reports, the couple wants the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and decide the constitutionality of the Louisiana law.

Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith argue that same-sex parents have a right to due process and should therefore be listed on amended birth certificates as joint custodial parents. A federal appeals court has already ruled against them.

The next step is the Supreme Court.

That could be a good thing or bad thing for gay parents. Gay marriage and parental rights are currently defined by each state. If the court takes their case and supports Adar and Smith, it would mean rights must honored across state lines.

But the reverse is also true. If the court rules against Adar and Smith, it would chisel a precedent in stone that would toss gay rights issues back to the states.

"Obtaining an amended birth certificate that accurately identifies both parents of an adopted child is vitally important for multiple purposes, including determining the parents' and child's right to make medical decisions for other family members at the necessary moments [and] determining custody, care and support of the child in the event of a separation or divorce between the parents," CNN quotes a brief submitted by the gay rights advocacy group Lambda Legal.

The 16-member 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against Adar and Smith in April. "Adoption is not a fundamental right," the appeals court wrote in its decision.

"Louisiana has a legitimate interest in encouraging a stable and nurturing environment for the education and socialization of its adopted children," reads the ruling. "Louisiana may rationally conclude that having parenthood focused on a married couple or single individual -- not on the freely severable relationship of unmarried partners -- furthers the interests of adopted children."

CNN reports Supreme Court justices area likely to decide in late September whether to accept the case for review.

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