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Arkansas Supreme Court makes a terrible decision for same-sex parents and their children

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Arkansas doesn’t have to automatically put same-sex parents on their children’s birth certificate according to a shameful ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court out this week. The court argues that their decision isn’t discriminatory but rather “acknowledge[s] basic biological truths.”

Nice try, but a quick look at the facts reveals that’s malarkey. If a woman is married to a man who’s not the biological father, he makes the cut to get on the birth certificate.

“There’s no requirement that DNA be given or that there be a biological relationship to a child to get on a birth certificate for a father, for the non-birth parent,” Cheryl Maples, a lawyer for the three same-sex couples in the case told the Associated Press. “All you have to do is legitimize the child and you’re entitled, if you’re heterosexual. This is wrong.”

Another point: every state requires the spouse to be listed as a parent if a married person gives birth. So actually, the law making the rules different for same-sex parents is discriminatory. And as Slate points out, a heterosexual couple that conceives through artificial insemination doesn’t have to jump through the same legal hoops same-sex couples do for both parents to be listed on the birth certificate:

However, take the example of a married lesbian couple and a married opposite-sex couple that avail themselves of a donor and artificial insemination services. If the husband in the opposite-sex marriage consents to the artificial insemination, the birth certificate names him and the birth mother as the child’s parents.

But the married lesbian couple that uses a donor’s services in the exact same manner as the opposite-sex couple is at the receiving end of the law’s cold shoulder. Unlike similarly situated heterosexual couples, same-sex couples must obtain a court order to amend a birth certificate.

Maples hasn’t decided whether or not to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

On a lighter note, The Daily Dot reports Chief Justice Howard W. Brill, who didn’t fully agree with the ruling, wrote an opinion that included 16 lines from Bob Dylan’s song “Times They Are A-Changin,” because why not. That opinion ends with the sentence: “The times indeed are a-changin’. All three branches of the government must change accordingly. It is time to heed the call.”

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