The same-sex marriage ban was not the only legal mechanism put in place here in Texas that posed challenges for same-sex couples. Another such mechanism involves birth certificates. And while the same-sex marriage ban has met its end with the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the birth certificate mechanism currently remains in force and it is at this point unclear what will happen with it in the future.
The mechanism in question was put in place in 1997 and it involves having gender-specific language on birth certificates and related application forms. Currently, on such documents here in Texas, on the “parent” lines, space is designated for one father and one mother. Thus, under this current language, a same-sex couple cannot put both of their names on a Texas birth certificate of their child. One reason this poses challenges for same-sex couples is that one important role birth certificates can play is that they can help with establishing parental rights.
Some same-sex couples are trying to get the state to change this and switch to gender-neutral language on state birth certificates and related documents so such documents could be used by same-sex families.
A spokesperson with the state has said that a review process is currently being performed by state officials to determine whether the U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down same-sex marriage bans would also require Texas to change its birth certificate language. This review could potentially end up having a pretty big impact on the future of birth certificates here in Texas. One wonders what conclusion the review will reach.
As one can see from this matter, there are still many unique issues same-sex partners face here in Texas. Attorneys can help same-sex couples with family law matters.
Source: The Dallas Morning News, “Gay parents push to get both names on birth certificates,” Melissa Repko, July 12, 2015