Archive for Monday, October 5, 2015

Same-sex couples take birth certificate cases to federal court

October 5, 2015


— Two same-sex couples from Kansas are now asking a federal court to order the state to issue birth certificates listing them as parents of children they conceived through artificial insemination.

Those couples, including one from Lawrence who filed a similar action in Douglas County District Court last week, argue that the state is refusing to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that said states must give full recognition to same-sex marriages.

"This just shows that recognition is not yet realized in Kansas, which means, in our view, we need a permanent injunction," said Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, which filed the lawsuit.

Bonney was the attorney who filed a federal lawsuit last year seeking to strike down Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage. That case was still pending in federal district court when the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in June.

In August, Judge Daniel Crabtree granted what's called a "declaratory" judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, meaning he struck down the provision of the Kansas Constitution and all other state statutes that banned same-sex marriages.

But he deferred issuing any kind of order or injunction compelling the state of Kansas to comply, saying he was hopeful that the state would comply on its own.

He then gave all parties in the case until Sept. 15 to submit additional evidence showing that the state either was or wasn't complying with the decision, and he gave the parties an additional 21 days beyond that, which was Monday, to respond to evidence presented by the other side.

On Sept. 15, state officials submitted numerous affidavits and documents showing that county officials throughout Kansas were granting marriage licenses and certificates, and that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Office of Vital Statistics was recording them.

But on Monday, the ACLU filed affidavits from three women who said the state was still not granting their marriages full recognition because it would not issue birth certificates listing both women in their marriages as parents of the children conceived through artificial insemination.

One of those affidavits came from Casey Smith, of Lawrence, who gave birth to a son in September. She and her wife, Jessica Smith, an assistant soccer coach at Kansas University, were married in California in 2013.

The other affidavits came from Christa Gonser and her wife, Carrie Hunt, who live in the Kansas City area. They were married in Canada in 2007.

Hunt gave birth Sept. 22 at Kansas University Hospital to twins that were conceived through artificial insemination.

Both couples note that their children were conceived through artificial insemination using sperm from an anonymous donor and that the procedures were done with the knowledge and consent of both spouses.

They also cite a 1968 Kansas law that says children born as a result of such a procedure, "shall be considered at law in all respects the same as a naturally conceived child of the husband and wife so requesting and consenting to the use of such technique."

Gonser stated in her affidavit that KU Hospital would not list both women as parents because its computer software only has an option for naming a mother and a father.

She said she later contacted KDHE to request a birth certificate, but was told by an official in the Office of Vital Statistics that, "since I was in a same-sex marriage, I could not be listed as a parent on my children’s birth certificates."

"She told me that I would have to obtain a second parent adoption in order to be listed as a parent on my children’s birth certificates," Gonser stated.

In their petition, they argue that Kansas is treating female spouses of women who conceive through artificial insemination differently than it treats male spouses of such women, which they say is illegal under the recent Supreme Court decision.

Tom Witt, executive director of the Wichita-based Equality Kansas, a gay rights advocacy group, said he knows of at least two other couples in Kansas who are facing the same situation.

"The one thing that we’ve been keeping our eyes open for is exactly this scenario — that the admin would go back on its word, and that it would start treating same-sex couples as second-class citizens," Witt said, referring to statements by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who said the state would comply with the Supreme Court decision. "It's intolerable."

KDHE officials have so far declined to comment on the cases.


Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Again, rule of law means nothing to Kansas' legislature. Rule of faux-religion means all.

Bob Forer 2 years, 5 months ago

The State is going to lose. The worst part about this is that Derek Schmidt's office will probably not defend the case. Although he has a boat load of attorneys on staff, they will probably farm this out to a private firm to pay back a political debt, but on our dime. So they score double points by pandering to their base and paying off their rich donors, and the people end up losing.

Scoundrels. Scoundrels. Scoundrels.

Paul Beyer 2 years, 5 months ago

But the child will have 2 loving parents and not raised to drink a lot of Tea. Unlike some "christian" single parents, who often can't even identify the father.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 5 months ago

One of them is not the father of the child so only the mother is the biological parent.

Lawrence Freeman 2 years, 5 months ago

You are ignoring the part that a non biological father can be listed..

Barb Gordon 2 years, 5 months ago

Under the law, a non-biological father would still be listed as the father on a birth certificate, so the state is treating the wives of women who conceive using artificial insemination differently than they're treating the husbands.

Justin Hoffman 2 years, 5 months ago

Thinking of Matthew 7:13-14, I will take that as a compliment. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Bob Forer 2 years, 5 months ago

Thinking of 19th Century English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton: "It was a dark and stormy night."

Bob Forer 2 years, 5 months ago

Your "basic biology" argument is without merit. If birth certificates were based on "biology" then the law would not allow adoptive parent to amend an original birth certificate with their names.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

Seriously? So a baby who has been abused by their "biological" bimbo parents should not have a new birth certificate. That's disgusting. So you are against abortion, adoption, single parents? How very "faux christian" of you.

Jerome Bradley 2 years, 5 months ago

I adopted my wife's daughter, now my daughter legally too :), when she was four and followed the legal avenue to put me on her birth certificate as the father. You seem to think that because you do not like it, that it is how reality is. Well I hate to break it to you, but your reality check has bounced and you are just spitting out pure nonsense.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Ummm, M, the birth certificate makes no provision for "biological parents". While it may ask for "mother" and "father", no biological representation is made. And, now, birth certificates may be altered to ask for "parent" and "parent", just as certificates of adoption make no issue of biological heritage. Basic biology has no meaning in this situation.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Grow a pair? Really? That means something to this discussion? I don't think you remember that I have never, and will never, be cowed by your witty repartee, "M". Part of the reason for that is that I, unlike you, have quite a bit more ability to answer a question or put forth logic than you do. You know, "M", you have absolutely no concept of reality, as evidenced by your posts and your inability to treat others as if they had a brain.

Try to follow this, and try really, really hard. There is no religion or biology mentioned in the law. Your trying to define something as it relates to your (doubtless deep and abiding) religious beliefs or by custom is not a legal definition. Legal definitions, as provided by law which has undergone countless defining lawsuits, make no reference to the biological meaning of "parent". The fact that you don't like it does not make it not so. That you have no retort but to stand on denigration of the poster and fall back on non-legal rhetoric makes no difference.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

Have you ever adopted an unwanted child, Lindeman. I'm pretty sure you have said you are pro fetus, but after the too bad. They are on their own, even when 2 loving adults want to raise a baby? I hope you don't even have kids of your own.

Aaron McGrogor 2 years, 5 months ago

Do you understand how birth certificates work? A woman can list whoever she wants as the father on a birth certificate. She can put Donald Trump if she wants, it doesn't mean it has to be accurate. Also, she can give the baby whatever first and last name she wants. Her last name is McGrogor? Well maybe Kennedy suits her child better. Or Moonbeam. Whatever.

Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

So, cite some facts, "M", or butt out. Your twisted non-understanding of most everything you post about is, quite honestly, amusing. Show some intelligence: simply denying a statement without providing factual reasoning makes you look a fool, and I'm sure you are not that, right?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

There are probably more than one first born child who is biologically someone else's child. I know a happily married couple that were married after the woman became pregnant with another man's child. The "sperm" donor dead beat jerk was never list on the birth certificate. The man who stood up and married the woman is on the birth certificate. Are you sure your kids are all yours? Women don't have to tell, you know. Unless you have a DNA test overtime a baby is born, no one but the mother knows for sure.

Clara Westphal 2 years, 5 months ago

If they know the source of the sperm . can these women come back later and sue him for child support?

Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Really? I wasn't aware of that. Please give us the benefit of your knowledge in print, "M", so we can all be as versed in fact as you.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

This was a sperm donor who was a friend of the couple. Most sperm donors are anonymous. But I suppose you oppose that too. Did you know that a woman can request no name in the father's spot? Immaculate conception?

Greg Cooper 2 years, 5 months ago

Gee, I'm sorry, "M", I guess I should have asked foe evidence based on legal donor ship. Had a physician been involved, no lawsuit would be accepted. Nice try, but keep on looking, because trying to prove silliness by citing illegalities won't work.

Bob Summers 2 years, 5 months ago

Under Kobach rules, how is the child going to vote without a birth certificate?

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