The news on the day the U.S. Supreme Court released Obergefell v. Hodges was filled with same-sex couples standing in front of microphones expressing their joy at the court’s decision to redefine marriage in all 50 states. One interview struck me more than the others: two women making a statement on how they could finally change their children’s birth certificates to include both women’s names — and only their names.
In the months that have followed, I have noticed more and more mention of something I have honestly thought little about — the birth certificate. There is a push to revise birth certificates to legally institute two men or two women as birth parents. An op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times argued that, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, “The battle over LGBT equality is far from over.” Douglas Nejaime regrets that “marriage equality doesn’t immediately erase all attachments related to biological, dual-gender child-rearing.”
Traditionally, states have made the assumption that any child born to a married woman was fathered by her husband. So married couples automatically had their names placed on a birth certificate as biological parents to a child born to a married woman. Of course, there were certainly cases when a woman’s husband was not the genetic father, but it was a reasonable assumption by the state that a woman’s husband was the father of her children.
Nejaime contends that because married same-sex couples are not automatically placed on a child’s birth certificate in every state, this is relegating same-sex couples to “second-class status.” He points out that this “marital presumption is emerging as a battleground.”
Nejaime is right that marital presumption for same-sex couples is developing into a battleground.
Rebecca Taylor blogs at Mary Meets Dolly