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Arkansas judge rules birth certificates can only name biological parents

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Only biological parents may be listed on birth certificates, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

This turn of events comes almost a year after Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox advocated for same-sex parents to be included on birth certificates. A lower court judge agreed and overturned the law, only to have that decision halted by the Arkansas Supreme Court days later.

Three lesbian couples are the focus of the case. They sued Arkansas citing The Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, and therefore omission from a partner of the same-sex on a birth certificate is unconstitutional.

However, Justice Josephine Hart did not see it that way, “Obergefell did not address Arkansas’s statutory framework regarding birth certificates, either expressly or impliedly,” she wrote on Thursday.

Her foundation for the ruling is based in science.  

“In the situation involving the female spouse of a biological mother, the female spouse does not have the same biological nexus to the child that the biological mother or the biological father has. It does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.”

“The purpose of the statutes is to truthfully record the nexus of the biological mother and the biological father to the child.”

This decision drew criticism from Chief Justice Howard Brill, who recited the Bob Dylan song, “The Times, they are a Changin’” before giving his opinion.

He wrote: “Regardless of personal values and regardless of a belief that the United States Supreme Court may have wrongfully decided a legal issue, all are bound by the law of the land."

Justice Paul Danielson did not agree with the ruling in its entirety, and made it known.

“Obergefell requires that this benefit be accorded to same-sex spouses and opposite-sex spouses with equal force,” he wrote. 

The couples could appeal the ruling, which would take them all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.