Indiana must end ‘discriminatory’ practices and list both spouses in lesbian marriages as parents on their children’s birth certificates, a judge in Indiana has ruled.
Federal US District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt has ruled in favor of eight lesbian couples who sued Indiana health commissioner Dr Jerome Adams, claiming the state wrongly forces the lesbian spouse who did not give birth to embark on a costly adoption process in order to be legally recognized as a parent.
Indiana state lawyers had claimed legislation was fair because it allowed parental rights via a biological relationship or adoption.
Judge heralds equality for lesbian mothers
Handing down her decision, Judge Pratt said there was ‘no conceivable important governmental interest that would justify the different treatment of female spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers from the male spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers’.
Karen Celestino-Horseman, an attorney who argued for the lesbian couples, said the ruling ‘obviously buttresses our contention that this shouldn’t have been something that was litigated in the first place’.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has not yet said whether it will appeal the ruling.
Legal challenges to anti-gay state laws multiply
Indiana is just the latest state to grant equal rights for gay parents with regard to birth certificates. Both women spouses can now be listed on birth certificates in Kansas, Utah and Iowa, with similar lawsuits currently pending in Wisconsin and North Carolina.
US law on what constitutes a parent is also facing fresh challenges in New York, where the ex-girlfriend of a lesbian mother is seeking parental rights over her non-biological child, even though she never married the biological mother.
Gay marriage was only legalized in the US last year, landing numerous same-sex couples who were not able to marry, and have since broken up, in a legal quagmire over parenting rights.