Two married same-sex couples are suing the state of Florida for the state’s refusal to list both women as parents on a birth certificate. They claim that the state’s actions are in direct violation of the June Obergefell v. Hodges decision.
Couples Yadira Arenas and Alma Vazquez, and Debbie and Kari Chin, who have both been married since 2013, each had a child in early 2015. Upon those occasions, both couples discovered that while the women who gave birth (Alma and Kari, respectively) were automatically listed on the birth certificate, their wives could not be listed alongside them.
The couples, who are being joined as plaintiffs by Equality Florida, the largest state LGBT rights organization, are represented by attorneys Mary Meeks and Elizabeth Schwartz, as well as the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In October of 2015, they requested a preliminary injunction from the court, stating that the state’s “discriminatory denial of equal birth certificates to Plaintiffs and their children … violates plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marry and to have their marriages treated equally.”
This past week, on December 9, the couples requested that the state decide the case without a trial. Their claim is that beyond the clear requirements of Obergefell v. Hodges, there is no further evidence necessary to make the decision. And indeed, the state’s choice to treat married same-sex couples differently from married opposite-sex couples on the occasion of their child’s birth is purely discriminatory. There is no legally defendable stance by which to sustain their position, and yet they continue.
And that’s the common theme we’ve seen, both before and in the months since the SCOTUS decision declaring state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. From Kim Davis to Aaron and Melissa Klein, bigots have repeatedly attempted to circumvent laws protecting the LGBT community. This is not to say that the legal aspect of the battle is won; there remain many states where discrimination against LGB people is legal, and even more where discrimination against trans people is permitted. But where there are laws, still they are broken by people intent on slowing the progress of the LGBT movement.
What brings me the most hope in this case is the insistence by the couples that the decision be made without a trial. The law is clear, they say. And so say I.
Hopefully, the updates on this case will come quickly and be full of good news. We wish these couples and every other same-sex couple fighting for the rights to co-parent their children the very best.