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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Ind. Decisions - Even more on: Federal district court rules today in complex rights of same-sex couples dispute

Updating this ILB post from July 1, 2016, re the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Henderson v. Adams, and this Aug. 16th update, Stephanie Wang reported yesterday for the Indianapolis Star, in a story headed "State appeals ruling on parental rights for same-sex couples":

The state of Indiana is appealing a federal judge's ruling allowing female same-sex spouses to both be listed on their children's birth certificates.

In June, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled against state laws that allowed for only the birth mother to be listed as a parent on a child's birth certificate, while her spouse had to adopt the child to gain parental rights.

Pratt ordered Indiana to extend the same parental rights to married same-sex couples as it does for married opposite-sex couples, including listing both mothers on a birth certificate.

While the state's appeal of that ruling is pending, same-sex couples will still have their parental rights recognized.

"At this time, our office is merely continuing to defend statutes enacted by the legislature," Indiana Attorney General press secretary Corey Elliot wrote in an email.

Later in the long story:
The state had argued that its laws reflect parenthood by biology or adoption. Parenthood rights, the state said, are not a benefit of marriage.

But the couples said the state was discriminating against same-sex marriages, since opposite-sex parents are treated differently under state laws. The state affords the presumption of parenthood, the lawsuit said, to a man in a heterosexual couple in cases where he may not be the biological father, such as in cases of artificial insemination. But it does not offer the same presumption of parenthood to the wives of birth mothers.

Without those parental rights, women could encounter issues with enrolling their children in school, making medical decisions for their children or listing their children as dependents on insurance policies, the lawsuit said. * * *

The appeal will go through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 1, 2017 09:43 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions