WASHINGTON – Two same-sex couples in Arkansas have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a ruling preventing married gay couples from getting the names of both spouses on their children’s birth certificates without a court order.
The attorneys from the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private attorneys for the couples argued a state Supreme Court ruling last year violates on the birth certificates violates the landmark 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage nationwide.
“Allowing the decision below to stand would open the door for other courts to pursue a similarly blatant path of denying same-sex couples important marital rights and protections on equally specious grounds,” the attorneys said in a court filing.
The state’s highest court overturned a lower judge’s ruling that struck down part of the state’s birth certificate law that defines parents by gender.
Republican Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is reviewing the request for Supreme Court review and will respond in court, a spokesman said.
“She remains confident in the state supreme court’s decision, which upheld the rule of law when it found that the lower court far exceeded its authority by unilaterally rewriting major sections of Arkansas code,” spokesman Judd Deere said.
Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, who argued the 2015 case legalizing gay marriage, said in a petition to the Supreme Court: “The issue is of critical importance to families across the country. Arkansas’ discriminatory birth certificate law is far from an outlier.”
The LBGTQ advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign praised the couples’ challenge.
“Unfortunately, since marriage equality became the law of the land, we have witnessed several attempts to roll back the rights of LGBTQ Arkansans, and this decision ranks among the most egregious,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC’s Arkansas state director.
“At the end of the day, marriage and parental rights for LGBTQ people are settled law, and this appeal is a strong step toward ensuring those rights are not undermined.”