Wednesday, December 16, 2020
On Monday, the Supreme Court turned away Indiana’s attempt to strip equal parenting rights from married same-sex couples. The court’s decision ensures that same-sex couples in Indiana will remain the lawful parents of their own children, ending the state’s six-year-long crusade to remove their names from their children’s birth certificates. But beyond Indiana, Monday’s order also suggests that a majority of the justices aren’t eager to roll back marriage equality.
Box v. Henderson involves eight married lesbian couples in Indiana who conceived through artificial insemination. When a married opposite-sex couple uses a sperm donor, the birth mother’s husband is listed as the father on their child’s birth certificate. Genetics alone does not determine parenthood in the state. When married same-sex couples used a sperm donor, however, Indiana officials refused to identify the birth mother’s wife as the child’s second parent. Instead, they insisted that this spouse undergo stepparent adoption, an invasive, lengthy, and expensive process.
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