Federal Court Denies Accurate Birth Certificate to Son of Gay Dads

In February 2010, a federal appeals court upheld a December 2008 ruling by U.S. District Court judge Jay Zainey ordering the state of Louisiana to list both names of adopted gay parents, Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith, on their son's birth certificate. Their son was born in Louisiana but they adopted him in New York. The couple now lives in Orlando, and their case was overturned yesterday:

Louisiana The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that a Louisiana registrar's insistence that only one father's name can go on the certificate does not violate the child's right to equal protection under the law; nor does it deny legal recognition of the New York adoption by both men.

An attorney for the gay rights group Lamda Legal said the complex 72-page decision would have to be analyzed before a decision would be made on whether to appeal.

"These are certainly the types of claims that might interest the U.S. Supreme Court," said Ken Upton of Lamda Legal's Dallas office.

In Louisiana, adopted children get new birth certificates with their new parents' names on them. However, the state does not allow adoptions by unmarried couples. The state contends that putting both men's names on the birth certificate would violate state law.

Said Lambda Legal in a statement: 

"We expected that the State of Louisiana would respect the court decrees of other states, just as states have done for over 200 years –and as the trial court and the earlier ruling of this court affirmed. But in today's ruling, this court seems willing to turn away from the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution just to deny an accurate birth certificate to this child adopted by his two fathers," said Ken Upton. "We are anstonished that Oren and Mickey and their son have been told by this court today that it is OK for the government to discriminate against their family."


  1. Randy says

    It has always bothered me that the names on a birth certificate are not required to be the genetic parents (and birth mother, if she’s a surrogate). What is the point of having ANY parent on the birth certificate, if they weren’t biologically involved in the birth? It’s not about them. It’s a record about the birth.

  2. Kaileia says

    The names are super important if, say, you want the child to go to school, the doctor, if they go missing, etc. A child needs a birth certificate to go to school, and, without something like an Adoption Certificate, which is apparently what this new birth certificate is taking the place of, the school could get suspicious and call the police under the thought that the child was kidnapped.

  3. marilyn says

    Good grief is there some sort of national movement against the term legal guardian? Have you ever ever ever seen a form that asked for the consent of a child’s parent that did not also give the option of consent being granted by a legal guardian?

    There is an ENORMOUS difference between a person’s parents and their adoptive parents or foster parents or social parents or their step parents or their pseudo step parents or their parents boyfriends or girlfriends their parent’s in law – there is a difference – parents don’t need anyone’s permission to be parents. They don’t need anyone else’s eggs or sperm or embryos although they might need someone else’s body to gestate the pregnancy she has no business carrying that pregnancy without the permission of the expectant mother.

    It matters that the birth certificate be an accurate medical record and if that does not happen to name the people that arranged for a baby to be made for them then too bad. It’s not their health record that is being falsified in an effort to make the adults feel unstigmatized. There is no stigma in recording the truth

    You can register a kid for school just fine with an accurate birth record and paperwork that says your a guardian or foster parent or whatever. You do not need your freaking name on their certificate like property transferred into your names. Straight adoptive couples don’t need it and should not have it that law needs to change in all fairness. Also straight married people should not allowed to falsify the birth record either – just because they can conceal the truth does not make it right and there ought to be strict rules against it. Its not fair to the child. Gay married couples and straight married couples should be treating the parent who is not biologically related as a step parent legally not as a parent. Its fraud and identity theft even when the real parents are unknown. Say so say you don’t know but don’t supplant yourselves as parents on a health record where you have no business being. This has nothing to do with who is best suited to raise a child certainly gay or straight has nothing at all to do with the job of raising kids. My beef is with tampering with the truth. Its not fair to the people who wind up not recognized legally as members of their biological families but rather grafted into the families of their parent’s lovers and spouses or grafted into the families of whoever purchased them from their bio parents.

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