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Iowa AG refuses fetal death certificate listing 2 moms

The Iowa Attorney General’s office is continuing its refusal to issue a fetal death certificate naming two women as the parents of a stillborn child.

The office maintains that it made the correct decision when it erased one mother’s name from the death certificate for the child even though the two women are legally married in Iowa.

Lambda Legal, which is providing legal representation to Jenny and Jessica Buntemeyer, has now launched a petition drive to flood state officials with public appeals on behalf of the lesbian couple.

The case developed after the Buntemeyer’s received the death certificate for their stillborn son from the state. Jenny’s name had been erased by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The women asked the state to correct the omission and, when state officials refused in February, they filed a suit.

This week, the AG filed court papers arguing that the IDPH was correct in erasing a name.

Camilla Taylor, the director of Lambda’s National Marriage Project, responded, “An Iowa court has already rejected the state’s arguments. Vital records such as birth and death certificates document legal parentage and not biology.

“Iowa is the only state that has refused to do the right thing. In all the other states that have significant relationship recognition laws for same-sex couples, presumed parentage for their children is part of the package.”

Lambda will present signed petitions to the IDPH at about 11 a.m. March 28 in Des Moines.

The nonprofit legal group previously went to court in Iowa to force the health department to issue accurate documents to a same-sex married a couple. In the first Lambda case regarding a birth certificate for a child born to a married same-sex couple, a court ruled that the spousal presumption of parentage applies to children of same-sex spouses just as it does to children of different-sex spouses, and compelled the state to issue an accurate two-parent vital record immediately to this family.

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