Arguments set for birth certificate appeal

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has scheduled oral arguments in Indiana’s birth certificate dispute for next month.

A three-judge panel will hear the case, Ashlee Henderson et al. v. Jerome M. Adams, 17-1141, at 9:30 a.m. May 22. No more than 20 minutes will be allotted for each side.

Eight married female same-sex couples filed a complaint over Indiana’s parentage law after the state did not list non-birth mothers as a parent on their children’s birth certificates. The women assert Indiana is violating their Equal Protection and Due Process rights.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted summary judgment to the couples, finding the best interests of the children would be furthered by recognizing both mothers as parents.

After the district court denied the state’s motion to alter or amend the ruling, the state appealed to the 7th Circuit. Indiana argues that constitutional parental rights come only with a biological relationship. In all other cases, the would-be parents may be required to adopt to gain such rights.

The women are represented by attorneys Karen Celestino-Horseman, William Groth, Richard Mann and Raymond Faust. At the 7th Circuit, Celestino-Horseman will be arguing for the plaintiffs.

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