The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 US states on June 26 of this year, but that doesn’t mean the fight for equality is completely over for the LGBTQ community. In Utah, a married lesbian couple, Kami and Angie Roe, have filed a lawsuit against the state because health officials refused to list Angie as the parent of their daughter Lucy.
Kami is the birth mother of their child, and Angie took the same steps and filed the same paperwork that a man would if his wife used assisted reproductive services. However, the Utah Department of Health refused to issue Lucy a birth certificate with both Kami and Angie Roe’s names listed on it, reports Ben Winslow for Fox13.
“We feel like we are being discriminated against,” Angie Roe told FOX 13 outside court. “We want to be treated just like opposite sex couples with respect to this situation.”
The state’s attorney argued that the Health Department made the decision based on the fact that another woman couldn’t possibly be the biological parent of the child the way a man could in the analogous situation.
“It is a fact that a non-biologically related female spouse can never be the biological father of a child,” state attorneys wrote in court documents. “It is a biological impossibility for a woman who does not give birth to a child to establish paternity of a child through the act of birth.”
Hospital staff told the Roes that Angie would have to adopt Lucy as a step parent, which according to the couple is costly and invasive, writes Lindsay Whitehurst for The Huffington Post.
The state attorneys argued that allowing the wife to claim parentage on a birth certificate could complicate state record keeping and prevent authorities from easily identifying public heath trends. Federal Judge Dee Benson, who heard the case, pointed out that would be that same for heterosexual couples in this situation.
Benson ruled in favor of Angie and Kami Roe, ordering the state to list both of the couple’s names on the birth certificate. He said it wasn’t a difficult decision to make, according to QSaltLake.
“The state has failed to demonstrate any legitimate reason, actually any reason at all, for not treating a female spouse in a same-sex marriage the same as a male spouse in an opposite-sex marriage,” Benson said in his ruling from the bench.
The ruling is the first of its kind since the US Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
Other couples have made similar cases in states including Iowa and Arkansas. Douglas NeJamie, a family law expert, says that he expects to see more of these cases come up especially in states where advocates of laws banning same-sex marriage are most active.
“This is an easy way to actually try and discriminate against same-sex couples,” he said.