US: Iowa Supreme Court rules that birth certificates must name both same-sex parents

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The Supreme Court in the US state of Iowa has ruled unanimously that the department of health in the state must name both same-sex spouses as parents, on a child’s birth certificate.

The ruling comes from a challenge brought to the court by Heather and Melissa Gartner, from Des Moines, who filed the complaint after the Iowa Department of Public Health refused to list Heather as a parent on their daughter’s birth certificate.

The refusal took place back in 2009, the same year that the state legalised equal marriage.

Justice David Wiggins, who wrote the opinion of the court, said the state must include same-sex spouses on birth certificates, as it has an obligation to ensure “the accuracy of birth certificates, the efficiency and effectiveness of government administration, and the determination of paternity.”

Wiggins wrote in the ruling that it was important “to recognize that married lesbian couples who have children enjoy the same benefits and burdens as married opposite-sex couples who have children.

“By naming the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple’s child, the child is ensured support from that parent and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth,” he continued.

The state legalised equal marriage for gay couples in 2009 after Supreme Court judges said a ban violated the constitution.

A proposed bill amendment which would have taken aim at the pay packets of Iowa Supreme Court judges who ruled to allow equal marriage in 2009, also failed in the House this week.