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Mark Spreitzer

Judge: Wisconsin must put same-sex parents' names on birth certificates

A federal judge has ruled that Wisconsin must put the names of many same-sex parents on their children's birth certificates.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb granted judgment in favor of a Madison couple. Chelsea and Jessamy Torres filed the discrimination lawsuit last year because the state failed to put both their names on their baby's birth certificate.

The couple argued that the state's practice of listing opposite-sex parents on birth certificates, but not same-sex parents, is discriminatory. Chelsea Torres gave birth to the couple's son Asher in March 2015 after undergoing artificial insemination.

Kyle Palazzolo, an attorney with Lamda Legal, which represented the couple, says many same-sex parents "can breathe a sigh of relief" because of the judge's ruling.

“My sincere congratulations to all those who now have the legal certainty to simply be a happy family without worrying about their children’s legal status,” said state Rep. Mark Spreitzer in a statement to the press. “When I introduced the Marriage and Family Equality Act, a bill to update Wisconsin statutes to account for marriage equality, my goal was for our laws to be read in a gender-neutral way that recognizes equal rights for all couples.

“The Department of Health Services should immediately issue corrected birth certificates for all families whose equal rights it has denied. Other state agencies must recognize that marriage equality means equal access to all the rights and responsibilities of marriage for same-sex couples.

“While I’m thankful for this decision, I hope we can codify this decision by passing the MFEA, and bring permanent certainty to Wisconsin families.”

 

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