Arkansas Aims For Equality Then Ignores It Happened

Arkansas announced that same sex parents are able to have both parent’s names on their children’s birth certificates. On Tuesday, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox, denounced a portion of the state law that had entirely banned same-sex couples from being listed on their children’s birth certificates.

Tim Fox’s ruling is monumental for same sex parents in Arkansas as he ordered government officials to immediately release amended certificates to the three plaintiff couples.

Jennifer and Tracee Gardner-Glaze, the couple who unsuccessfully tried to amend their 4-month-old son’s birth certificate on Wednesday, were finally able to do so late Friday after hearing health officials had changed their policy.

This sounds all well and good, as if there is a happy ending in the works for all same sex parents that unfortunately dwell within Arkansas’ borders. Unfortunately, not so much. The state did not allow other same-sex couples the same liberties. State health officials even continued to turn away at least one couple who tried to alter the information on their son’s certificate.

This reaction was even advised by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. She told state officials not to issue amended birth certificates. She strongly encouraged this because she planned to appeal the ruling. Because in Arkansas you can have a happy ending, you just can’t read and enjoy it because the attorney general is allow to just tear those pages right out.

At least the Arkansas Department of Health has decided to defy that recommendation. Because it’s not the law. And for Leslie Rutledge to recommend people disregard the law is, by definition, illegal. And should be the cause for Rutledge’s obvious reprehension. Thankfully, officials like Meg Mirivel has made it clear, “we have decided to issue amended birth certificates to same-sex couples…” Good start. However, another happy ending was brutally rebuked when she added, its was only so long as they, “can show that they were married before the birth of their child,” despite the fact that unmarried heterosexual couples have always had the right to put their names in their child’s birth certificate. And this decision is still in place, even despite the fact that same sex couples have only been legally allowed to marry for barely a full year now. Arkansas Department of Health spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said. “This may change depending on the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision on ADH’s request for a stay. Because this is a legal matter that continues to develop, this is all the information we have to share at this time.”

Cheryl Maples said a stay could come as early as Monday.”I’m hoping that the Supreme Court will not issue a stay because there is a clear violation of fundamental constitutional rights that would be going on while the stay is happening,” she said. She highlighted the fact that the only same sex couples that are able to get an amended birth certificate are ones who were married before the birth of their child. She stated how deeply she does hope that the Department of Health will change that restricting and prejudiced policy for couples who were married after the birth of the child as well, or remain unmarried. “That is done without a court order for heterosexual couples in the state,” she reminds.


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