On Monday, the last day of the court's current session, the Supreme Court ruled that, like states must allow same-sex couples to marry, they must also allow same-sex couples to be listed as parents on their children's birth certificates.
Arkansas had resisted, arguing that the birth certificate was a record of parentage for the child, rather than a document about the marriage.
According to Slate, the court ruled that their previous decision on same-sex marriage, which says states must give marriage rights to same-sex couples "on the same terms and conditions as opposite-sex couples", also extends to child-rearing because the state would list a married couple of opposite sexes as a child's parents. His dissent was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
Now that the Arkansas law has been struck down, states like Alabama, Alaska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Wyoming will face pressure to amend similar statutes.
For example, if a woman in an opposite-sex couple is artificially inseminated, her husband will be listed as the child's parent.
But the U.S. Supreme Court rejected that, pointing out that Arkansas has a "presumption of parentage" statute whereby a male married to the mother of a child is legally considered to be the father of that child, even if he has no biological ties to it.
"Birth certificates exist to record that a child was born and who the child's biological parents are presumed to be", he said.
"The Arkansas Supreme Court's decision, we conclude, denied married same-sex couples access to the 'constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage, '" the court said Friday.
This is helpful to people in Arkansas because a birth certificate is often required to show parenthood in school enrollment and medical treatment, which is another reason that birth certificates are not just documents to name biological relationships.
"Today is a step forward for not just civil rights, but female rights", said Johnson, who volunteers with the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality.
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