Appeals Court Rules Birth Certificates May Include Lesbian ‘Spouse’ of Women Who Conceive Via Sperm Donor

CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court injunction in favor of two lesbian women who sued as one of them was prohibited by the State of Indiana from being listed on the birth certificate as “mother #2” of a child conceived via a sperm donor.

“The district court’s order requiring Indiana to recognize the children of these plaintiffs as legitimate children, born in wedlock, and to identify both wives in each union as parents, is affirmed,” Judge Frank Easterbrook, nominated to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan, wrote for the court.

According to the Lafayette Journal and Courier, one of the women, named Ruby, gave birth to baby Landon in 2015. On a document provided by the hospital, the women crossed out “father” and wrote “mother #2” and then the name of Ruby’s significant other.

But the birth certificate issued by the Tippecanoe County Health Department two weeks later only listed Ruby as the parent, and when asked why, it said that it was simply following state guidelines.

The women — and others in similar situations — consequently sued, arguing that “Indiana’s law restricting the presumption of parenthood to men and bastardizing children born to women in same-sex marriages … publicly stigmatizes persons in a same-sex marriage and sends a hideous message to their children.”

They also asserted that it would be unfair to require the other woman to spend thousands to adopt the child.

But the State contended in its legal response that the women want the government to “presume something to be true which everyone knows not only to be untrue but also impossible.”

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In 2016, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama, ruled in favor of the women in finding Title 31 of the Indiana statutes surrounding the definition of a “child born out of wedlock” to be discriminatory in light of the Supreme Court same-sex case Obergefell v. Hodges.

The law states in part, “A man is presumed to be a child’s biological father if the man and the child’s biological mother are or have been married to each other.”

“[T]he Parenthood Statutes are not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest,” Walton Pratt wrote. “By refusing to grant the presumption of parenthood to same-sex married women, the State Defendant violates the Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to parenthood under the Due Process Clause.”

“[T]here is no conceivable important governmental interest that would justify the different treatment of female spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers from the male spouses of artificially-inseminated birth mothers,” she opined.

On Jan. 17, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Chicago, Illinois, upheld much of the decision, concluding that “a state cannot presume that a husband is the father of a child born in wedlock, while denying an equivalent presumption to parents in same-sex marriages.”

It outlined several complex situations, such its assertion that “both women in a same-sex marriage may indeed be biological mothers.” It pointed to one example where a woman donated her eggs while the other carried the egg fertilized by a third party male sperm donor.

The court also expressed apprehension that the district court opinion could be taken to say that lesbian relationships must be treated differently than those of two males “for whom adoption is the only way to produce ‘Father #1′ and “Father #2’ on a birth certificate.”

“Although the plaintiffs in this suit are adult women (and children of both sexes), and it would therefore be inappropriate for the court to decide the proper treatment of children born during male-male marriages, it would be helpful for the district court to provide expressly that this question is left open for resolution by the legislature or in some future suit,” Easterbrook wrote.

“It also is important to be clear that this litigation does not decide what parental rights and duties (if any) biological fathers such as sperm donors have with respect to the children of female-female marriages [as] no biological father is a litigant.”

Read the ruling in full here.

Some Christians oppose artificial, or in-vitro, fertilization in any circumstance.

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Stanley

As previously reported, while a common argument among those who struggle with homosexual feelings is that they were “born this way,” the Bible teaches that all are born with the Adamic sin nature, having various inherent feelings and inclinations that are contrary to the law of God, and being utterly incapable of changing by themselves.

It is why Jesus came: to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Scripture outlines that Jesus came to be the propitiation for men’s sins (1 John 2:21 John 4:10), a doctrine in Christianity known as substitutionary atonement, and to save men from the wrath of God for their violations against His law (Romans 4:25Romans 5:9Romans 5:16), a doctrine known as justification.

The Bible also teaches about regeneration, as in addition to sparing guilty men from eternal punishment, Christ sent his Holy Spirit to make those who would repent and believe the gospel new creatures in the here and now, with new desires and an ability to do what is pleasing in the sight of God by His indwelling and empowerment (Ezekiel 11:192 Corinthians 5:17Titus 3:5).

Jesus said that men must be born again, and be transformed by the Spirit from being in Adam to being in Christ, or they cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-8).

In regard to marriage, Jesus also outlined in Mark 10:6-8, “But from the beginning of the Creation, God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.”


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