image A story in The Des Moines Register yesterday illustrates the slippery slope that is inherent in the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act.  A gay couple “married” in Des Moines are now suing Iowa Department of Public Health over a birth certificate.

A same-sex couple married in Des Moines last year has filed a lawsuit against two state health department officials, after the department refused to name both women on their daughter’s birth certificate.

Heather Lynn Martin Gartner, 38, and Melissa McCoy Gartner, 39, filed the Polk County lawsuit last week on behalf of their second child, who was born in September.

The couple argues that the birth certificate – which lists only Heather Gartner, the biological mother – incorrectly labels their daughter Mackenzie as a child born out of wedlock.

The Iowa Department of Public Health in March rejected the couple’s request on grounds that Melissa Gartner had not legally adopted Mackenzie and was not biologically related.

Iowa Department of Public Health Director Tom Newton, who is named in the lawsuit, said in a statement Thursday that his office will fight the claim. Newton said current state law only allows the name of a "husband" to appear on birth certificates when the mother is married, unless a judge grants parental rights to someone else.

Newton said naming a lesbian couple as parents without a legal adoption could jeopardize the rights of a biological father.

This is simple biology.  The Iowa Supreme Court can make all of the rulings that they would like, but it doesn’t change the fact that to have a child it takes a biological father (even if the father is a sperm donor) and a biological mother.  Two lesbians can’t conceive therefore they can’t both be listed on the birth certificate.  The current law is set up to protect the rights of biological fathers, and shouldn’t be circumvented because some homosexuals want to pretend that boundaries for marriage and family don’t exist.

Kudos to the Iowa Department of Public Health Director, Tom Newton, for sticking up for common sense.

8 comments
  1. You are so lazy Shane.

    How does current law protect the biological father? Current law does not even inquire if a sperm donor was used. Current law presumes the married couple are the parents, even if it was biologically impossible.

    1. Feel better Erich?

      You are right current law doesn’t ask, so it is presumed there is a biological father. You make my point. Now if you want to work on getting the law changed instead of demanding that we disregard biology, be my guest.

  2. There is precedent going back to WWII, when some married women got pregnant while their husbands were at war. There was no biological way the husband could have been the father, yet the husband was presumed to be the father and so named on the birth certificate.
    .-= desmoinesdem´s last blog ..National Tragedy Demands Real Response =-.

    1. My point to Erich above is… get the law changed. I don’t agree with the WWII precedent either. Right now the remedy is legal adoption, which is the only thing that could make that the non-birthing partner a parent (not that I agree with that either, but it is the law).

  3. Technical foible: The couple were not ‘married’, they were married.

    Sperm donors are not necessarily listed as the father on the forms. There is an inconsistency in the way the form may be filled out that makes this birth certificate lawsuit plausible and highlights problems that have been brushed under the rug. Clearly there needs to be resolution about how to define non-birth parent for the form. Should the criteria be strictly biological or should it require an explicit statement about responsibility for the child (e.g. adoption)? If the former, should that require genetic testing? If the latter, how would that impact the biological father if he’s not the same as the adoptive parent? Or one could avoid the problem entirely and only list the birth mother (which could create issues with surrogate parentage).

    Perhaps the best thing would be keep a record of up to five entries: The baby’s genetic parents, birth mother and the responsible parents.

Comments are closed.

Get CT In Your Inbox!

Don't miss a single update.

You May Also Like

Review: Man of Steel

Man of Steel faced a challenge: to re-tell an origin story everyone…

Proclaiming the Gospel v. Fighting for the Culture: A False Dichotomy

One problem within Evangelical Christianity is that a narrow view is often…

Timothy Gloege Gets Evangelicals Wrong

Collin Brendemuehl: All of us who are evangelical — pentecostal, fundamental, reformed, Anabaptist — we all share in something that lets us fellowship. Of course, we don’t agree on all of it. But we do share in Christ and common core truths.

Small Acts That Impact

My friend, Drew, shared on his blog a story about Bishop Desmond…