Nicole Singley and her wife, Jennifer, had been married for more than a year when their son was born in Indiana in 2015. Jennifer had carried the boy, conceived through artificial insemination, and Nicole was there to cut the umbilical cord. But the next day, while holding their son in the hospital, they were told that only Jennifer’s name would appear on the baby’s birth certificate.
Two years later, the couple is expecting another child, this time a daughter carried by Nicole, and they are still pushing the state to allow both members of married gay couples to be listed on birth certificates the day their baby is born. The course the state recommends in cases like these: adoption.
In other states, the law has been on the Singleys’ side. State “presumption of parentage” laws, which allow hospitals to list a woman’s husband as the father of her child on a birth certificate — even if paternity hasn’t been medically established — have largely been extended to married lesbian couples after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Many states did so voluntarily, while courts settled the issue in others, including Florida and South Carolina.
Now, just Arkansas and Indiana are still grappling with lawsuits that contend they treat married lesbian couples differently when it comes to birth certificates.