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5th Cir OKs Louisiana’s Refusal to List Same-Sex Couple as Parents on New Birth Cert for Adopted Son

Posted Apr 13, 2011 12:56 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Reversing its own 2010 decision that the state must issue a revised birth certificate for a Louisiana-born baby who has been adopted in New York by two men, the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in an en banc ruling said the state was within its rights to refuse to make a change that conflicts with its own adoption law.

Neither the the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution nor equal protection require the state to reissue the birth certificate as requested by the two dads, Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith, the appeals court held in its written opinion (PDF).

Because the state is not refusing to recognize the validity of the New York adoption, federal constitutional principles do not require Louisiana to violate its own law that adoptive parents must be married by listing two unmarried parents on their son's birth certificate, the opinion explains. The state registrar, it notes, offered to reissue the birth certificate in the name of one of the adoptive parents, since Louisiana law allows a single parent to adopt, but this option was refused by the plaintiffs.

Earlier coverage:

Times-Picayune (2010): "Louisiana must issue birth certificate to men who adopted baby boy, federal court rules"

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