Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gay Dads Want Their Names on Adopted Child's Birth Certificate

I've posted before about why I hate the so-called "amended birth certificate" that states issue for adopted children.  I consider them government-sponsored lies.  Zoe has a Texas birth certificate that lists me as her mother, and her date and place of birth in China.  While I don't recall where I was or what I was doing on November 6, 2000, I do know I was NOT in China and I was NOT giving birth to Zoe.  But that's what her state-issued fake birth certificate claims.  I understand the strongest argument for such certificates -- convenience -- but I don't find it sufficiently persuasive as to allow government-sanctioned lies.

But once we allow amended birth certificates for adopted children, listing the names of their adoptive parents, then who cares the sexual orientation of the parents?  If an amended birth certificate doesn't mean that the folks listed actually gave birth to the child, who cares whether the parents were in fact biologically capable of giving birth to the child?  That's one of the argument in a Louisiana lawsuit, reported in the Boston Globe:
The question of whether Louisiana must put both parents' names on birth certificates of children adopted by gay couples goes before 16 federal appeals court judges on Wednesday.

Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith of San Diego want the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a unanimous three-judge ruling and a district judge's decision that both of their names must go on their son's birth certificate.

Adopted children get new birth certificates with their new parents' names on them. But the state Attorney General's Office contends that Louisiana's registrar cannot put both Adar's and Smith's names on their son's birth certificate because they could not have adopted him together in Louisiana.

The earlier orders would make the state break its own vital records laws by including names of unmarried couples, who cannot adopt together in Louisiana regardless of sexual orientation, according to a brief filed by Assistant Attorney General Kyle Duncan.

Adar and Smith adopted a boy, who was born in Shreveport in late 2005. They were then living in Connecticut, and went to Louisiana to meet the mother, who gave them legal custody soon after his birth. They adopted him in April 2006 in New York state.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey found that the law was so clear that no trial was needed. Louisiana's law requires the state to list adoptive parents' names. Because New York law allows adoption by unmarried couples, Louisiana had to follow that law in writing the new certificate, he wrote. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld that decision last February. The state asked for a rehearing before the full court.
Your thoughts?


Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

I don’t know what to say other than amending birth certificates is wrong, they are falsified documents. So once you start to lying does it matter how big the lie is?

Amanda said...

I think that these issues are more arguing about the rights of those who are adopting, rather than promoting the rights of the children who are being adopted.

Yes, all people deserve to be treated equally. We can either argue that gay and lesbian adoptive parents have the equal right to be on the birth certificates of adopted children as heterosexual parents are.


We can instead argue that adopted children have the equal right to have one birth certificate with factual birth documentation upon it, as the non-adopted do.

Neither of these things would be an issue if we stopped amending and sealing. No one would have to argue about who is on the birth certificate and adoptees would not be treated unequally to others.

However, here we still are, possibly 100 years after amending and sealing began, still arguing about birth certificates for goodness sakes.

I, of course, am not including all Adoptive Parents in this, but there sometimes seems to be a sense of validation of the Adoptive Family by having the names of Adoptive Parents on the only birth certificate an adoptee is permitted to access--which, is one reason why the second wave of sealings of birth certificates took place in the United States. It was to keep the original mother from knowing the child's identity so that she could not "interfere" with the bonding of the new family, and, to make the Adoptive Family appear as a biological family does. One set of parents, on birth certificate, one family.

You can be a parent without giving birth; you can also be a parent without being on the birth certificate. The decree of adoption should be sufficient proof as to whom one's legal parents are.

I also don't understand the convenience argument, unless inconvenience after the age of 18 doesn't count. I know many adoptees who cannot get driver's licenses and passports and have had difficulty getting clearance for higher-level security jobs. A friend of mine who cannot get a passport has been told that his SON may have trouble getting security clearance for the job he'd like to do because of his Adult Adoptee father's lack of OBC.

I want to see more Adoptive Parents advocating for their descendant's right to equality. There was no need for me to have three identities before the age of one. There was no need for my birth documentation to be altered at all.

travelmom and more said...

I am not an advocate of falsifying documents or sealing records, but I also don't know what the legal purpose of the birth certificate is? In the past when you traveled to Mexico you could travel with a birth certificate and if that were the only form of ID my child had, then it would be necessary to have my name to confirm that I am her mother. Are birth certificated legal identification of parenthood or are they an archived document to provide proof of biology?

Tina said...

I am struggling with this right now. We have not "readopted" our son here in the states to get him a US birth certificate in part because I don't want to rease that link to his OBC. BUt I do worry if I am seeting him up for trouble getting a passport, his drivers license yeadda yadda yadda. And god forbid he be careless and lose the Russian birth certificate he does have - getting another one I think would be a huge pain for him.

you did readopt / gert US birth certifictes for your girls I take it?

malinda said...

Tina, I did get an amended BC for my oldest, but was sufficiently weirded out by it that I haven't for my youngest. There's no timeline by which to do it (except perhaps before reaching majority), so I figure it's her choice when she's older.