Louisiana Birth Certificate Update

There’s a Louisiana case I’ve been following in which two gay men who had properly adopted a child in New York wanted a birth certificate that listed both of their names.   The problem is that the child was born in Louisiana and Louisiana would not have allowed the two men to adopt.   Since the child was born in Louisiana, only Louisiana could issue a birth certificate.

As that earlier post recounts, the men have had success in court, although the order in their favor was stayed.   The lawyer for the state suggested at that time that he’d seek legislation on the matter.

Well, here’s the legislation.   It’s HB 60 and it had a committee hearing in the Louisiana legislature today.   (I cannot tell what happened at the hearing–perhaps it isn’t posted yet.)   The bill provides that the state will not issue a birth certificate to an adoptive couple unless the couple would have qualified for adoption in Louisiana.

Recall that Louisiana does not permit unmarried couples to adopt.  This means that, if this statute passes, Louisiana will have a law that says it won’t issue new birth certificates with the names of any unmarried couple on it.   Since Louisiana doesn’t recognize marriage between two people of the same sex, that means no lesbian and gay couples can get birth certificates from Louisiana, even if they’ve fully completed an adoption in a state that permits them to do so.

As my earlier posts noted, the critical question at the heart of the birth certificate cases is whether Louisiana has to recognize the adoptions properly conducte in other states.   The Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution may well require it to do so.   It’s not clear to me this new legislation would actually change that argument much.  But I suppose it is the thought that counts?

3 responses to “Louisiana Birth Certificate Update

  1. This is the problem with half baked ideas. Louisiana law is of French derivation. There is no equality under French law, where even assisted reproduction is illegal under most instances.

    A knowledgeable, creative adoption attorney would have recommended the adoption be prosecuted in a “non-residency adoption” state with that state issuing a new birth certificate having both dads listed.

    • I think this is in the “easier said than done” category. I gather that for foreign adoptions a US state will issue a birth certificate for a child not born in that state. But for domestic adoptions, I think the general rule is that you go back to the state where the child was born. not that I’m an expert. You may well know more about this than I.

      Perhaps we should consider a separate certificate of parentage? I believe the new birth certificate practice reflects a desire to protect adopted children from the embarrassment of having an birth certificate that reveals that they are adopted. But particularly for same-sex couples, it’s pretty obvious that the child is not the “natural” (and I use that word quite advisedly) child of both parents. Further, the open adoption movement has made a lot of progress here. Maybe it’s time for a new certificate? Not a thought through possibility (for me) yet. Just a half-baked idea.

  2. You do not have to post this as it merely clarifies my poorly drafted original comment.

    The Parent always gets an original birth certificate from the state where the birth occurred. However, in Louisiana (as in certain other states) where only one Dad can get listed, Dad and Partner should go to a non-residency required adoption state to finish up the process.

    In that State, the Dads’ attorney will prosecute a (step-parent) adoption. The clerk will seal the court file and Vital Records will issue a birth certificate with both Dads’ names.

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