I was too busy with Iowa Caucus activity last week to provide any commentary on Polk County District Judge Eliza Ovrom’s decision ordering the Iowa Department of Public Health to list both members of a same-sex marriage as legal parents of a 2-year-old girl. Better late than never.
The Des Moines Register reports:
Ovrom’s 12-page ruling stops short of declaring a constitutional right for same-sex parents to be named automatically on newborns’ birth certificates. But it faults state officials for failing to correctly interpret older Iowa laws in light of the April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriages.
State administrators are bound by the 2009 case to interpret laws in a way that gives “full access to the institution of marriage,” Ovrom wrote.
“Pursuant to Varnum v. Brien, where a married woman gives birth to a baby conceived through use of an anonymous sperm donor, the Department of Public Health should place her same-sex spouse’s name on the child’s birth certificate without requiring the spouse to go through an adoption proceeding,” Ovrom concluded. “Petitioners have proven the Department’s actions are in violation of law and based on an erroneous interpretation of the law….”
Iowa law says that if a woman is married, the husband must be legally deemed the father unless there’s a court order that says otherwise.
But state lawyers argued in the case that gender-specific parenting rights make it legally impossible to replace a “husband” with a same-sex “spouse.
Heather Adams who was the attorney for the Iowa Department of Public Health summed up their argument in one sentence during the hearing in November said, “It is a biological impossibility for a woman to ever legally establish paternity of a child.”
That is true, but hey what Nature and Nature’s God doesn’t make allowance for the Court will right? If same-sex sexual relationships are “normal,” why not accept the limitations that come with them? Also this again is another example of an activist judge who wants to rewrite law. The Iowa Supreme Court in their ruling did not indicate that all parental rights laws were now to be reinterpreted (not that they really have authority to do that). This judge now believes her opinion is weightier than the Iowa Legislature’s authority to make law.
Department Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks needs to appeal this decision.