Molly Maness-Roberson and her partner, Keri Roberson, found that even though Molly had carried their baby to term thanks to Keri’s egg and an anonymous sperm donor, they could not have both of their names on the birth certificate.
After giving birth to their child, hospital officials informed Molly that they would not list both her and her partner on the certificate. As you’re probably not aware, Texas birth certificates only have space for one mother and one father, and don’t allow for two mums or two dads.
Quite rightly, Molly was heartbroken: “It just really breaks your heart, that’s the only way I can describe how I felt.”
Naturally, the recent ruling by the US Supreme Court ruling has prompted LGBTQ+ people turn their attention toward other things, including the removal of gender-specific language from the document itself and the application forms for it.
Molly went on to say: “No matter what kind of family you have, you’re still a family. I feel like you should be recognized as such.”
This is quite a vital thing, as birth certificates are instrumental in not only parental rights, but also to qualify a child for financial support and health benefits. If a change were to be made, it would affect roughly 9,200 same-sex couples living in Texas.
State Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas has been trying hard to get it changed, as for the past four legislative seasons he has sponsored legislation to get gender-neutral language on birth certificates. Sadly though, the bill has failed each time.
According to Anchia, the language on birth certificate doesn’t only effect same-sex couples. It also creates hardships for two relatives of the same gender adopting a child, such as two aunts or two grandfathers.
He said: “To deny them a birth certificate that reflects their true and loving family is cruel.”
A spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, Carrie Williams, has said that officials are reviewing the SCOTUS ruling in favour of same-sex marriage to see if changes also need to be made to birth certificates and other legal documents.
With any luck, we will see a change. As Suzanne Bryant – an attorney who specialises in LGBT adoptions – rightly pointed out, it attaches stigma to non-traditional families: “It tells that child that something about their family doesn’t deserve the same respect from the state of Texas.”