by Jaime Duggan, attorney Duggan Law Firm, www.uptownesquire.com
2020 actually gave us some good news!
On December 14th, the US Supreme Court decided not to hear a case which asked the court to allow Indiana to refuse to place both mothers on their child’s birth certificate. An exciting decision since the state of affairs in the country the last several years have left many of us worried about the court’s future decisions regarding marriage equality. The decision affirms once again that married same-sex couples are entitled to be treated equally under the law!
Court decisions from the US Supreme Court and from courts around the country can often be confusing and leave folks wondering what the decision might mean for them and their family. The US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality – for all people – the law of the land. But, as we’ve seen, many cases have followed, and will continue to follow, that more specifically define how marriage equality must be followed in the laws of the 50 states. As Texans, the court’s ruling on December 14th affirms that married same-sex couples must both be listed on their child’s birth certificate – which isn’t something that is altogether new for us. Married same-sex couples have been able to be listed on their child’s birth certificates in Texas for years now. The most important point to make to parents in Texas: the listing of a person on a child’s birth certificate does not, on its own, grant that person parental rights. A very important distinction! How a person is defined as a legal parent is different in all states. That issue is still playing out in court systems in Texas and across the country. Every favorable court ruling gets us closer and closer to full equality, but, don’t forget that right now, same-sex parents in Texas must still assert their parental rights through a court order. All these legal distinctions can be confusing and it’s always best to consult an attorney who has knowledge in this area to ensure your family is protected.
For now, let’s celebrate and keep fighting on!