Protecting the law vs. individual rights

Thursday, December 3, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

signing a marriage licenseThe Supreme Court may decide whether to take a case out of Indiana that involves same-sex parents and birth certificates.

In 2015, Ashlee and Ruby Henderson sued Indiana's health commissioner and various officials in Tippecanoe County, saying they were not both listed as parents on the birth certificate of a child whom Ruby conceived through artificial insemination.

Indiana's federal southern district court ruled that Indiana laws on who can be called a parent of a child were unconstitutional. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

"The issue is not about keeping gay parents off the birth certificate," Attorney General Curtis Hill (R-Indiana) tells One News Now. "It's really having a comporting of Indiana law that requires biology to be the determinant of how the birth certificate is listed."

Attorney General Hill says Indiana requires that a birth certificate include the birth mother and a presumptive father, which is the biological father, typically the husband.

"In a circumstance where you have two gay couples, it's impossible, in a sense, for a birth mother who is married to a woman to be the biological father," Hill adds.

The Supreme Court may take up the issue in one of its upcoming conferences.

"We might hear relatively soon whether they plan to take up the case," Hill continues. "We're hoping to get it straightened out just so the law is clarified here in the state."

Hill

He says this is really an issue of what is permissible for a state to provide in terms of rules pertaining to a birth certificate. 

"It's an interpretation of the Constitution, and so from that standpoint, the question really arises as to what are we doing to protect the state of the law as opposed to what are we doing to take away someone's rights," the attorney general submits. "And we don't see that at all."

Hill adds that in this particular case, Ashlee Henderson still has the option to adopt, "and there is no action taken by Indiana to prohibit that action."

Additional couples joined Ashley and Ruby in the lawsuit.

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