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Main » Supreme Court rules in favor of adoption rights, but Gorsuch dissents

Supreme Court rules in favor of adoption rights, but Gorsuch dissents

27 June 2017

Pavan v. Smithinvolved an unusual Arkansas law providing that, when a child is born to woman married to a man, "i$3 f the mother was married at the time of either conception or birth. the name of [her] husband shall be entered on the certificate as the father of the child".

The Arkansas Department of Health claimed that only the birth mother was listed because the state has an interest in recording a child's biological heritage. But the same rule did not apply to same-sex couples. The newspaper spun the judicial branch's move in the lead sentence of its Monday article: "The Supreme Court agreed Monday to reopen the national debate over same-sex marriage".

According to Slate, the court ruled that their previous decision on same-sex marriage, which says states must give marriage rights to same-sex couples "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples", also extends to child-rearing because the state would list a married couple of opposite sexes as a child's parents.

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When Leigh Jacobs gave birth to the couple's son in 2015, the couple was issued a birth certificate naming only Leigh as a parent despite listing both parents on the application.

Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which had petitioned the USA high court along with attorneys for the couples, said similar issues are being litigated in other states but Arkansas was the only court to rule this way.

"Today's decision means that millions of married same-sex couples across the country can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that this type of blatant discrimination against their families will not stand. Marriage equality is settled law and protects same-sex parents and their children from discrimination".

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Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from the ruling.

She added that she "will continue to review today's decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly".

"Echoing the court below, the State defends its birth certificate law on the ground that being named on a child's birth certificate is not a benefit that attends marriage". Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, a Republican, said she disagreed with the court's ruling. It overturns the Arkansas Supreme Court's December ruling that "it does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths".

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Supreme Court rules in favor of adoption rights, but Gorsuch dissents