On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Many Florida residents assume that because the United States Supreme Court legitimized same-sex marriage a couple of years ago, those same-sex parents gained a new set of rights. In reality, however, states have addressed this issue in a number of different ways. In some states, same-sex couples have been permitted to list both partners’ names on a birth certificate. In other states, however, parents face insistence that only biological parents be listed on a child’s birth certificate. That presents a unique paternity problem for families that are comprised of two women.
As a result, multiple lawsuits have been filed seeking clarification on the matter, and a change in state laws that would support parental rights for both partners in a same-sex marriage. The basis of those lawsuits is the fact that when a heterosexual couple decides to add a child to their family through artificial insemination, the woman’s husband is allowed to be listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate. That step is taken despite the fact that the husband has no biological connection to the child.
Same-sex couples do have the ability to pursue adoption to allow the other parent to be listed on the birth certificate, but many couples argue that having to take that additional step is unfair. Adoption can come with a high expense, and many states require social workers to evaluate the family home and determine if adoption is the best course of action. By taking the matter before the courts, these couples hope to clear the path for other families to have the same rights as heterosexual couples.
For those in Florida who are preparing to have a child through artificial insemination, it is well worth the time and effort to research current laws regarding who has the legal right to be listed on the birth certificate. Laws change over time, and what is possible one year may not be so the next. Having to launch a paternity fight is not something that any same-sex couple anticipates, but that may be the only way to reach clarification on issues of same-sex parental rights.
USA Today, “Gay couples fight to be included on birth certificates“, Rebecca Beitsch, June 12, 2017