OneIowa.com – July 26, 2013
Only a month ago, the United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, granting gay and lesbian married couples more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections previously denied to them. Some people thought we were done. The struggle was over. Our families, at least in Iowa, had equal standing under the law.
Except that there is still so much work to be done. Imagine, for example, how surprised and heartbroken Joanne Abbas and Lindsey Clark were when they received their baby Thea’s birth certificate. It listed only one of the mothers as a parent. When Thea was born, these women correctly filled out the necessary paperwork and, with help from the hospital staff, both women listed their names as parents on the birth worksheet. And still, when they received the birth certificate, Lindsey’s name was missing from this important document.
Despite a previous ruling from the Iowa Supreme Court in the case Gartner v. Newton, the Iowa Department of Public Health is still refusing to immediately issue accurate birth certificates for all children born to married lesbian parents like Joanne and Lindsey. The Gartner case was decided unanimously in May of this year by the Iowa Supreme Court as part of a Lambda Legal lawsuit challenging the Iowa Department of Public Health’s refusal to issue an accurate birth certificate to MacKenzie, daughter of married same-sex couple Heather and Melissa Gartner. Iowa’s highest court ruled in favor of the Gartners, stating that the department would have to change its practice of refusing to issue accurate birth certificates listing both mothers.
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