Reuters/US News: SCOTUS Overturns Arkansas Ruling on Birth Certificates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned a state court ruling that allowed Arkansas to refuse to list both same-sex spouses on birth certificates, a decision that helps clarify the scope of protections provided by the high court’s landmark 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage.

One of the reasons that husby and I are thankful that we live in California while we’re having children is because California has a history both in law and in court rulings for upholding the rights of same-sex parents. We are able to establish parentage right away and we will both be named on the birth certificate.

Unfortunately, not all states are quite so conscientious.  Tennessee has been contemplating similar legislation to the one SCOTUS struck down here. Other states have grappled with the issue as well.

For my friends on the left side of the political spectrum, the fact that Justice Gorsuch was part of the dissent along with Justices Alito and Thomas is an affirmation of their worst predictions about the new SCOTUS judge.

My friends on the right side haven’t really commented yet as far as I’ve seen.  If I had to predict, I would say that most of my conservative friends support the ruling on the grounds that it’s a contractual matter.  I don’t have any friends that I know of who are the sort of people who would oppose this ruling simply because it would annoy gay people. In fact, I don’t think I have any friends on the right who believe gay people can’t be good parents.

But I am curious about the dissenting opinion here.  This is fresh news this morning, and I haven’t dug deeply enough to find the actual ruling and the opinions.  I assume that they kicked it back on the grounds that it is a power reserved for the states.

Personally, I am reluctant to join my friends on the left who are saying this is definitive proof that Gorsuch is a homophobe.  I also didn’t hold the view that Scalia was a homophobe.  This is because I don’t think that simply because someone does something that hurts gay people it means they’re a homophobe.  Also, in spite of my federalist tendencies, I am not super keen on the federal government taking more oversight on anything.

Nevertheless, this ruling is pretty helpful to a lot of people out there right now.  I don’t know how this ruling could be used to hurt people in the long run.  But here at the end of Pride Month, as we approach the anniversary of Stonewall, I’m willing to focus on the short term.

EDIT: A friend of mine on FB (who is an actual lawyer) commented on the dissent:

They disagreed with the applicability of the procedural mechanism (summary reversal) with which the court disposed of the case. Gorsuch wrote that Obergefell did not clearly and unambiguously decide the issue of whether biologically-based birth registration was discriminatory, and that summary dismissal was therefore inappropriate.

Categories: Politics