History was made here in Florida back in 2014 when judges at both the state and federal level ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. History was made again just a year later when state officials granted legal recognition to same-sex marriages.
While you might think that the achievement of marriage equality here in the Sunshine State would effectively end the need for any additional legal battles related to this important issue, this hasn’t proven to be the case.
Indeed, the Equality Florida Institute together with three married same-sex couples consisting of six mothers filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee earlier this month against Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong and Kenneth Jones, the Registrar for the Florida Department of Health over the inability of married same-sex couples to be listed together on birth certificates.
According to one of the lawsuit’s married couples, who were previously a party to the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court challenging the state’s marriage ban and later the first same-sex partners to legally marry in the state, hospital staff were informed by the Bureau of Vital Statistics that the name of the mother who did not deliver the couple’s twins could not be listed on their birth certificates.
Here, the reason provided to hospital staff by agency officials was that the applicable statutes are written in terms of a man and a woman, the same reason cited for the previous denial of marriage licenses.
In fact, the mother who did not deliver was informed that the only way she could get her name on the birth certificates would be to go through the process of legally adopting them as a stepparent.
“They have no excuse continuing to delay issuing accurate and lawful birth certificates,” said one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit. “We worked way too hard to win marriage equality in the state of Florida to now have our marriages treated as second-class.”
Stay tuned for updates on this very important case.
If you or a loved one has questions or concerns regarding divorce, child custody, visitation or child support, please consider meeting with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.