Thursday, April 2, 2009

Federal court delays birth certificate for gay dads

NEW ORLEANS, LA (Observer Update) - The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a hold on a lower court ruling that gave the state of Louisiana 15 days to put both names of a gay couple on the birth certificate of their adopted son, reported

The state appealed the ruling and the 5th Circuit has ordered legal briefs to be submitted in the case. The Appeals Court is expected to hear the case later this year.

Oren Adar and Mickey Smith adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in a New York court, where a judge issued an adoption decree.

When Smith attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, in part so he could add his son to his health insurance, the office of Louisiana State Registrar Darlene Smith told him that Louisiana does not recognize adoption by unmarried parents and so could not issue it.

Lambda Legal filed suit on behalf of Adar and Smith in October, 2007, saying that the registrar was violating the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution by refusing to recognize the New York adoption. The Constitution holds that judgments and orders issued by a court in one state are legally binding in other states as well.

In December, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans ordered the state Office of Vital Records to put the names of both fathers on the amended birth certificate.

In his ruling Zainey said failing to amend the birth certificate violated the U.S. Constitution. Zainey issued the ruling without holding a trial.

Last month Louisiana attorney general’s office asked Zainey to reconsider the ruling or order a full trial.

On March 20, Zainey rejected the motion by Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and ordered the state to comply with his original order within 15 days.

Caldwell said Tuesday that the case brings up complex constitutional questions and is likely to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lambda Legal, however, has won similar cases in Oklahoma, Virginia and Mississippi.

Meanwhile, a bill has been filed in the Louisiana legislature that would make it illegal to revise birth certificates for people who would not qualify as adoptive parents in Louisiana. That would include gay couples.

No comments: