A married same-sex couple is suing the Iowa Department of Public Health for refusing to list both parents on their child’s birth certificate. Heather and Melissa Gartner were married after the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state’s ban on same sex unions.
When their daughter was born, they assumed they would both be listed on the birth certificate. But state officials said they would not list the non-birth mother until she adopts the child. An attorney with Lambda Legal, Camilla Taylor, says the state would not make the same request of a heterosexual couple who uses a sperm donor.
“Many married different sex couples use anonymous donor insemination to conceive or in some cases, a woman may have an affair and in every case when a married different sex couple requests a birth certificate for their child – that birth certificate is issued automatically naming the husband as a parent,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, requiring the non-birth mother to adopt is expensive, intrusive, and insulting. She’s hoping the matter is resolved before going to court. “Iowa is the only state of all of those states who permit same sex couples to marry or to enter into civil unions that has refused to place the name of both spouses in a same sex couple on a child’s birth certificate,” Taylor said. “I expect this is just a mistake and I expect we’ll clear it up shortly but Iowa is certainly standing alone here.”