LGBTQ+ Pride Month

The Supreme Court Has Made An Important Decision Affecting Same-Sex Parents

"We are truly equal as families now."

Monday, June 26 marked the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Therefore, it was a fitting day for the court to reaffirm its 2015 decision, this time ruling that states must allow the names of both parents in a same-sex marriage to be listed on birth certificates.

The decision reversed a ruling by the Arkansas state Supreme Court concerning a law which allowed a woman's husband to automatically be listed on a child's birth certificate regardless of whether he was the biological parent but did not extend the same right to same-sex couples. 

According to the New York Times, the case, titled Pavan v. Smith, was brought to the Supreme Court by two married lesbian couples "who had jointly planned their child's conception by means of an anonymous sperm donor." State officials would only list the biological mother's name on the birth certificates.

The couples argued that a birth certificate "affects parental decision-making authority in the medical and educational context." The Times also points out that Obergefell v. Hodges, the case which legalized same-sex marriage, listed birth certificates as one of the "governmental rights, benefits, and responsibilities" associated with marriage.


Although Arkansas had ruled against the couples, according to the Associated Press, the U.S. court said that it conflicted with the 2015 ruling. "The Arkansas Supreme Court's decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the 'constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage,' " the court reportedly said.

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said there had been similar cases in other states, but Arkansas had been the only court to rule the way it did. 

"The Arkansas decision was an outlier in that regard and I'm very hopeful now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed the Arkansas Supreme Court that other state supreme courts will understand that the law really does require equal treatment of same-sex married parents," Minter said, according to AP.

Jana Jacobs, one of the women who sued over the issue, spoke of what the ruling means for same-sex parents, saying, "It makes things for my family and all Arkansas LGBT families much better going forward. We are truly equal as families now."

(H/T: Glamour)

Cover image: Rena Schild /


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