Wisconsin Sued Over Birth Certificate Stance

     (CN) – A married same-sex couple says Wisconsin’s refusal to place both mothers’ names on their child’s birth certificate is unconstitutional.
     Chelsea and Jessamy Torres, parents of A.T. and a legally married lesbian couple, sued Kitty Rhoades ,Wisconsin’s Secretary of Health Services, in the Madison, Wis. Federal Court on May 13.
     According to their complaint, in March 2015, Chelsea gave birth to their son who was conceived via fertility treatments and the selection of an anonymous sperm donor.
     Since then, Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services “has refused to provide A.T. with an accurate birth certificate that identifies both Chelsea and Jessamy as his parents,” the complaint says.
     “Indeed,” it continues, “DHS has refused to provide and child born to same-sex spouses an accurate birth certificate listing both spouses as parents absent a court order of adoption or parentage – even though DHS routinely proves two-parent birth certificates to all children both to different-sex spouses without requiring a court order, and without any regard to how these children are conceived, or whether these children share a genetic connection to both spouses.”
     Under Wisconsin law, a man is presumed to be the child’s father if he and the child’s mother are married, even if the couple used artificial means of insemination with another man’s sperm.
     Torres said that DHS’s policy denied children born to same-sex parents the dignity given to children of married different-sex parents.
     “The refusal by DHS to provide a two-parent birth certificate to A.T. and other children of same-sex spouses violates the equal protection guarantee of the United States Constitution by discriminating against Chelsea, Jessamy, and other married same sex parents on the basis of their sexual orientation and sex, and against A.T. and other children on the basis of their parents’ sex, sexual orientation, and status, all without adequate justification,” the complaint says.
     Without a birth certificate listing Jessamy as A.T.’s parent, she will be hindered in her ability to take actions on A.T.’s behalf such as authorize medical treatment, the mothers claim.
     The parents ask the court to declare DHS’s policy unconstitutional, and order it to immediately issue a correct birth certificate to A.T. listing both his parents’ names.
     They are represented by Clearesia Lovell-Lepak in Madison, with assistance from Kyle Palazzolo with the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Chicago.

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