Despite a change in state leadership, Indiana will continue fighting over birth certificates in a move that is being seen as part of a larger ongoing resistance to same-sex marriage.
Indiana has appealed the ruling in Henderson v. Adams, 17-1141, which allowed married non-birth mothers to be listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. The Pence administration refused to recognize these women as parents and twice tried to convince the district court to limit the scope of the state’s parenthood statutes.
Although a new governor has been installed, the state is turning to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals but has not yet submitted a brief stating what issue it wants the appellate panel to address. Neither Gov. Eric Holcomb nor Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill responded to phone and email messages seeking comment.
“I had been hopeful that with a new attorney general and a new governor we would see a change in the state’s handling of this matter,” said Karen Celestino-Horseman, one of attorneys representing the couples in Henderson.
The plaintiffs in Henderson, a group of married lesbian couples, challenged Indiana’s stance that non-birth mothers are not parents because they are not biologically related to the children. Their primary argument was that they were being treated differently from similarly situated heterosexual couples who had undergone artificial insemination. The men in those marriages were still listed as the father on the birth certificate even though they didn’t share a biological connection with the offspring.
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana overturned the state’s parenthood statutes, finding they violate the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment.
The state subsequently filed a motion asking the court to modify and clarify the ruling. Walton Pratt denied the motion to amend the judgment but granted the state’s request to clarify how the judgment should be applied, pointing out “the Order means what it says and says what it means.”
The IndianaLawyer.com, by Marilyn Odendahl, February 8, 2017
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Source: Time for Families