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Same-sex couples may face legal hurdles to get on birth records

Partners in same-sex marriages in Maryland may choose to each keep their pre-wedding surname, or they may opt to combine them as one couple in Ohio did to create a new name. With more same-sex couples having children, many of them want their offspring to bear this new family moniker on a birth certificate that also lists both spouses as the baby's parents. The Ohio couple, however, live in a state which does not entitle gay and lesbian marrieds to both be included on birth certificates.

They have joined two other couples in a lawsuit meant to change that rule in Ohio. The legal action stated that all six soon-to-be parents are merely seeking the same status and dignity for families headed by same-sex parents that was given to traditional families, which is having both legal parents listed on their children's birth certificates.

Although it might seem uncontroversial for gay and lesbian parents who are married and live in a state that legally recognizes their marriages to be listed on the birth certificates of their children they care for from birth, different states see the matter each in a slightly different way. For example, California recognizes both legal parents on the documents, but in Maryland, this practice is allowed only for two women who are married. Men in that state must go through further legal procedures in order to get onto the certificate, as is also the case in New York and Oregon.

Spouses in a same-sex marriage may face additional fights in order to get the recognition already given to traditional married couples. However, the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act has caused the federal government to give same-sex partners some benefits that are already enjoyed by others.

Source: USA Today, "Suit: Gay parents want their names on birth certificates", Kimball Perry, February 10, 2014

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