History has been made today as the United States Supreme Court has ruled in favor of marriage equality. This is great news! Same-sex couples will now have access to certain rights that will allow them to be protected under the law. As more same-sex couples feel as though they have a legally recognized relationship, they will likely feel more confident in their stability and ability to raise children. BUT…this decision leaves a lot to be desired. How is this decision going to affect a same-sex couple’s ability to build their family? Can both names go on the birth certificate? Can states deny married same-sex couples from both being on the birth certificate? Can adoption agencies deny services to same-sex couples? If a woman gives birth and she is married to another woman, will the marital presumption apply or will they still need to do a second-parent adoption?
In Indiana, if a woman gives birth to a child, and she is married, there is a presumption that her husband is the legal father. In the event that there is a married same-sex female couple, and one of them gives birth, will her wife be presumed to be the “father” on the birth certificate? Similarly, if a same-sex male couple chooses to use gestational surrogacy and a child is born, will his husband be presumed the “mother” on the birth certificate? Will they change the birth certificate to say “parent” instead of “mother” and “father”? These are likely going to be future cases that will be heard and decided and we look forward to them. However, even though there are still many questions on how this decision is going to impact family building in the LGBT community we are very excited and grateful for the advancement in the laws to protect same-sex couples and their families.