Dragging Florida into the new normal


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Still behind when it comes to LGBT families, Florida state officials are doing everything they can to slow the pace of progress in the state. Eight months after the marriage ban ended, the state is not allowing hospitals to list both same-sex parents on their babies’ birth certificates, according to a federal lawsuit recently filed by three gay couples.

The first same-sex couple to be married in Florida, Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello (pictured), discovered the hospital would only include the birth mother’s name on the birth certificate for their twins. They have sued, saying the Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics violates the U.S. Constitution by issuing “a certificate that falsely indicates that the child has only one parent.”

The Florida Department of Health, which handles birth certificates, responded with a legal motion seeking clarification from a judge on whether the Supreme Court’s ruling “may be read to require issuance of birth certificates to married same-sex parents.”

It said current Florida law regarding birth certificates is “gender specific,” referring to a mother and her husband. It added the Supreme Court ruling referred only “to the issue of same-sex marriage, not vital statistics records.”

Most states quickly changed birth certificate rules to reflect the Supreme Court ruling, although Texas, Utah and Arkansas only did so after lawsuits were filed.

Not having an accurate birth certificate denies children with same-sex parents normal birth rights and also prevents parents from taking care of their children’s everyday needs like obtaining government benefits, said Equality Florida, which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Floridians, and is also a plaintiff in the case.

via Reuters
Photo via St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Cononut Grove, FL