UTAH: Lesbian Moms Win Birth Certificate Battle With State

Via the Salt Lake Tribune:

A federal judge said Wednesday that Utah must recognize the rights of a married lesbian couple by issuing a birth certificate for their infant daughter that lists both of the women as legal parents. “The state has failed to show any legitimate reason, actually any reason at all, for not treating a female spouse in a same-sex marriage the same as a male spouse in an opposite-sex marriage with regard to be recognized as the legal parent” when the child has been conceived with donated sperm, U.S. District Judge Dee Benson said. The ruling in the case of Angela and Kami Roe is the first in the wake of the June U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex unions in all 50 states, attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union said.

Important: “Utah’s assisted-reproduction statute addresses only donated sperm, not a woman’s egg or surrogacy, so the decision does not affect married gay men.”

  • Baltimatt


  • Baltimatt

    Judge Dee Benson is a man, a Mormon, and a George HW Bush appointee.


    • parachihuahua

      And it was fabulous he ruled immediately from the bench, “Oh get over it, two “she” can be as responsible for a baby as a “he” and a “she.”

  • Ireyon

    Ah, so it’s going to be a “one set of rules for the ladies, a stricter set for the gentlemen” kind of affair.

    May the lawsuits commence.

    • Baltimatt

      So a married man donates sperm to a married woman. Does the resulting child suddenly have four legal parents?

      • Gustav2

        No, only the birth woman’s legal spouse.

      • lymis

        Nope. Outside of one strange case that I read about, a child has doesn’t get more than two legal parents from birth, and the spouse of the woman who gave birth is legally presumed to be a parent unless the courts are involved.

        The case that was different was one a while back where all three parties (Mom, spouse, donor) petitioned to be listed as equal parents. It got shot down, and approved on appeal.

        That’s still different than the legal default – and still required action of a court to make it happen.

    • Reality.Bites

      This is the way it works everywhere – when a woman gives birth, the child is considered the child of her and her partner.

      When a woman gives birth no, it’s not going to be automatically considered the child of two men she doesn’t live with. There are all kinds of parenting situations where a family court order is needed – and that has nothing to do with state opposition. It’s just the way these things are handled.

      Of course in this case Utah was trying to be dicks about it, because that’s what they do. But in the most LGBT-friendly jurisdiction when one or two men have a child through surrogacy it will not be automatically listed as their child.

    • lymis

      That’s a bit premature. Judges usually only rule on the case before them, and wherever possible, on the narrowest available grounds.

      The point is that these women are in no legally different position than an opposite sex couple where the sperm came from another donor. So the judge ruled accordingly.

      Surrogacy – where the outside party provides the egg and gestates the resulting baby, is a somewhat legally distinct situation, because the baby is not born to one of the partners in the marriage. In fact, if the surrogate is married, legally, she and her spouse would be the parents at birth, with the gay couple having no rights. That’s actually fully consistent with the existing law until the law is changed. That’s why contracts about the legal custody of the child and signing away parental rights are required.

      Host mothering with donated egg and sperm is a whole different legal question, that as far as I know, hasn’t been addressed in the courts.

  • Gustav2

    So the decision does not affect married gay men, because every sperm is sacred.

    • Baltimatt

      Actually, the decision was not about married gay men, since a married lesbian couple brought the case to deal with the situation of a married woman giving birth using donated sperm.

      • Gustav2

        Isn’t Utah’s laws a way to make sure there is one male who is responsible for the child? The old any child of the married woman is the responsibility of her spouse.

        • RoFaWh

          If that’s what their laws attempt to do, then they’ve fallen afoul of the broadening of marriage to include same sex couples.

          Such a legal provision implicitly says “all marriages are between opposite sex spouses”, which just ain’t true anymore.

          State governments would do well to comb their statute books for all explicit references to anyone’s sex and make sure that those references are no longer redundant and contrary to law given the extension of marriage to same sex couples.

          • Gustav2

            You act like these state governments, run by Republicans, have an incentive to do so. If they did this in any efficient way, the Christianists would scream they support sodomy marriage in the next election.

  • RNegron

    “… so the decision does not affect married gay men.”

    Translation, We will never give in. We are going to make people sue us into submission every step of the way, and then scream that we are being oppresed when we inevitably loose.

    • Reality.Bites

      Translation: You just don’t understand the legalities. At all.

  • Todd20036

    Did anyone really think Utah would ever become enlightened? They still think underwear is magical.

    Ok, some can be, but it depends on who is wearing it.

    • Rambie

      As a non-Mormon Utahan I’ll just say: Do not taunt the Jesus Jammies! 😉

  • Octavio

    This most likely has Gail Ruzika (sp?), the most vile of the vile anti LGBT crusaders in the Eagle Forum and who lives in Highland, UT, in a constant seizure. And that’s a good thing. Enjoy your seizure, Gail. You look good with with froth dripping from you lips. It’s a look. 🙂

    • cowboy

      It’s Gayle Ruzicka. Who hasn’t made much of any public statements lately. The LDS Church stomped on her megaphone when they supported many things she was against. So, she and the Sutherland Institute are preparing for this year’s biggest event: The WCF convention in Salt Lake City.

      And it’s time I send in a contribution to the ACLU. But if I hear the Utah’s AG office is going to appeal and waste more of our tax dollars…I’ll be spitt’n mad. The State already spent 1.2 million of our taxes in supporting the indefensible anti-gay marriage.

      • Octavio

        Thanks for the correction and the update. Back in the day I lived in Alpine, UT (my mother’s home town) and would run into Gayle and one of her daughters at the Kroger in Highland just about every time I went to the grocery store. What a miserable fetid piece of excrement she is. One afternoon my long suffering documentary filmmaker Lesbian cousin confronted her and got Gayle so upset that she had a major fender bender in the Kroger parking lot. It was fun to watch he boil an spew steam in public. The county sheriff boyze gave her a nice big ticket. They couldn’t stand her either. Moral? Don’t drive when you’re having a hissy fit. 🙂

        • Prixator

          I just did a google image search of her. And, MAN, what a puss!

          I try to avoid associating peoples’ looks with their personalities, but she is the perfect example of UGLY – inside and out! And not one picture where she has even the hint of a smile.

          She probably scares children and animals. (If anyone wants to do the same search, you’ve been warned!)

          • Octavio

            Yeah. She makes her lord and mistress, Phyliss Schlafley look good. That’s an accomplishment. lol!

        • cowboy

          For a couple of weeks I did my civic duty and went up on Utah’s Capitol hill afte work to lobby for my right to be a full-fledged citizen of Utah. I was sitting in the cafeteria where Mrs. Ruzsicka was rallying some young Republicans at the next table. I overheard a lot of their planning and instructions on how to lobby the legislature. Quite impressive. I wish we could get the same kind of organizational skills she has. But she noticed me. I was dressed in suit and tie and I guess she assumed I was a ‘friendly’ lobbyist. But I just smiled. Picked up my tray of food and chuckled under my breath while I walked away.

          She commanded a lot of power on the hill. She intimidated others. She made sure she had the best seats in the gallery and all her minions with laptops were set to apply their skills to their agenda. Really impressive.

          But it ocmes to this. The Reprentatives cannot look like they favor Mrs. Ruzicka over the LDS Church. When the LDS Church lobbyists said they would be more than happy to include gays in the discrimination laws it took the wind out of her sails. She lost a lot of credibility these past two years.

          • Octavio

            As difficult as it is to admit it, the Eagle Forum gals are very well organized. The phone tree system they use to influence public opinion works especially well with the sisters in the local wards. I bow in humble debt for your lobbying in the Beehive State. It’s a place and a mentality (Utah) that I know far too well and am doing my best to forget. Any one (except Brother Darin from an earlier post about the Boy Scouts) has my respect and sympathy for hanging in there and fighting for full citizenship of all LBGT folks in the state. I understand that Chris Buttars is no longer a representative. Yet another ass wipe who needed to be eliminated from the Utah Legislature long ago. But now Utah has Mike Lee embarrassing the state in the US Senate? Seems like normal thinking will never return to the Land of Zion. Anyway, I agree that we need to develop and train LGBT lobbyists seriously good organizational skills to defeat the evil Gayle Ruzickas of the world.

            As an aside. Chris Buttars had a brother, Mike Buttars, who was a major great beauty in SLC’s gay community of the late 1960s early 70s. He, like so many of that era, moved to SF and starred in several gay porn films. He died of AIDs in ’81 or ’82. The Buttars family never mentions him.

  • lymis

    People need to understand that a birth certificate is not a scientific certificate of genetic origin. It’s a legal recognition of who has parental rights.

  • JCF