Yesterday, the Arkansas Supreme Court knocked down a lower court ruling giving married same-sex couples the right to have their names appear on their children’s birth certificates without a court order. The court’s majority opinion said that a birth certificate listing only the biological parents does not “deny the appellees due process,” adding, “It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.”
And yet, a dissenting justice wrote that the benefit of being listed on a child’s birth certificate derives from marriage, not biology — fathers, for example, do not have to prove their DNA connection to a child to get listed on their kid’s birth certificate. As such, making same-sex couples jump through additional legal and financial hoops to appear on their child’s birth certificate is unequal and unjust.
The three same-sex couples represented in the case and their attorneys have not said whether they’ll appeal the case up to the Supreme Court. We hope they do. People need their birth certificates for all sorts of legal matters — there’s no reason that document shouldn’t list the child’s legal parents, no matter their DNA. Should any dispute over parentage or guardianship arise, the court process could handle it.