Arkansas Supreme Court Halts Same-Sex Parental Victory

[DIGEST: Reuters; SWTimes; Huffpost]

Three lesbian couples challenged the Arkansas Health Department’s Vital Statistics Bureau in court when it refused to list them as either the adoptive or biological parents of their children. The couples won; Little Rock Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox issued a decision on December 1 holding that a state law preventing same-sex couples from being listed as parents was unconstitutional.

In his decision, Judge Fox declared that the recent United States Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country already had made clear that same-sex couples possess “the same constitutional rights with respect to the issuance of birth certificates and amended birth certificates as opposite-sex couples.”

The three couples who had issued the challenge were granted amended birth certificates, but their wider victory was short lived. Just over a week after Judge Fox issued his ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court blocked the order allowing the names of same-sex parents to appear on their children’s birth certificates.

In a 5-2 decision, the state Supreme Court granted State Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s motion for a stay of the broader, state-wide ruling, pending the outcome of an appeal. Rutledge did not, however, challenge the issuance of amended birth certificates to the three same-sex couples who had brought the case. Those birth certificates will not be revoked.

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