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Federal judge orders state of Utah to list same-sex couple names on birth certificate of baby

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U.S. District Judge Dee Benson ordered the state of Utah to list the names of a lesbian couple as mothers on a birth certificate for their new baby.

The ACLU of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in April 2015 to force the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics to recognize plaintiffs Angie and Kami Roe as parents to their daughter, Lucy. Arguments were heard today and ACLU lawyers said the ruling is the first of its kind since gay marriage was legalized.

“The state has failed to show any legitimate reason, actually any reason at all, for not treating a female spouse in a same-sex marriage the same as a male spouse in an opposite-sex marriage with regard to be recognized as the legal parent” when the child has been conceived with donated sperm, Benson said.

The Roes, who live in West Jordan and were married Dec. 20 — the day Judge Robert Shelby declared Utah’s ban on same-sex married unconstitutional, said in their lawsuit that the state should treat wedded same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples who use sperm donors to have children.

State attorneys argued that Utah law law recognizes the “biological and gendered roles” of fathers and mothers, and that a child can only have one biological mother and one biological father.

“It is a biological impossibility for a woman who does not give birth to a child to establish paternity of a child through the act of birth. Therefore, the presumption of paternity is meaningless when applied to a same-sex female couple,” the state’s attorneys argued.

The judge said that, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, Utah laws that distinguish between heterosexual and same-sex marriage are null and void.

“I don’t think it’s a hard case,” Benson said. “The laws that now stand are not applicable to the marriage of Angela and Kami Roe.”

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