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Supreme Court sides with same-sex couples in Arkansas suit

by The Associated Press | June 26, 2017 at 8:57 a.m. | Updated June 26, 2017 at 2:05 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has ruled for same-sex couples who complained an Arkansas birth certificate law discriminated against them.

The justices on Monday issued an unsigned opinion reversing an Arkansas high court ruling that upheld the law.

Under the law, married lesbian couples had to get a court order to have both spouses listed as parents on their children's birth certificates.

Arkansas routinely lists a woman's husband as a child's father, even if he is not the biological parent of the child. The same-sex couples want the same presumption applied to the married partner of a woman who gives birth to a child.

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented from the ruling.

In a statement, the president of the Arkansas Family Council said the court through its decision is asking "Arkansans to ignore basic facts about biology."

"Birth certificates exist to record that a child was born and who the child’s biological parents are presumed to be," he said. "As the Arkansas Supreme Court correctly noted last year, no child can have two biological mothers, but the Arkansas Department of Health will now be forced to operate as if that is possible because of this court ruling.”

In a statement, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge also criticized the court's overturning of the law "without briefing or argument on the merits.”

She added that she "will continue to review today’s decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas' director praised the ruling as "a decisive victory for LGBT parents and their children.”

"The ACLU of Arkansas is grateful to these courageous families and all those who continue to fight discrimination in all its forms,” Rita Sklar said in a statement.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Arkansas Online staff members contributed to this story.


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