According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas, same-sex females couples who had children before the legalization of same-sex marriage were required to get a court order in order to list their names on the birth certificate of a joint child. When the two plaintiff couples in the case submitted paperwork listing both spouses as parents, the state sent them back birth certificates that listed only the birth mother. The state Supreme Court in December reversed that judge's decision, but the us high court said that ruling conflicts with its 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.
Conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the lower court decision should not have been reversed.
Now that the Arkansas law has been struck down, states like Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Wyoming will face pressure to amend similar statutes. Today's ruling reinforces same-sex couples' right to parent and to have their names on their children's birth certificates. "As the Arkansas Supreme Court correctly noted past year, no child can have two biological mothers, but the Arkansas Department of Health will now be forced to operate as if that is possible because of this court ruling". "The statute in question establishes a set of rules created to ensure that the biological parents of a child are listed on the child's birth certificate".
"Echoing the court below, the State defends its birth certificate law on the ground that being named on a child's birth certificate is not a benefit that attends marriage". This, the court ruled, is one of the rights granted to same-sex couples along with marriage.
She added that she "will continue to review today's decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly". In the dissenting opinion, Gorsuch wrote that "nothing in Obergefell indicates that a birth registration regime based on biology, one no doubt with many analogues across the country and throughout history, offends the Constitution". Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, said she disagreed with the court's ruling.
'Today's decision gives me comfort that my growing family, and other Arkansas families, will receive the respect and protections we deserve, ' Jana Jacobs said in a statement.