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ACLU Brings State to Court Over Recognition of Same-Sex Mothers’ Parentage Rights

13 April 2015 Published in Newsroom

The ACLU of Utah and the national ACLU LGBT Project filed a lawsuit today to force the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics to recognize a married same-sex couple as legal parents of their child.

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April 13, 2015                                                                                                                                                                           

SALT LAKE CITY — The ACLU of Utah and the national ACLU LGBT Project filed a lawsuit today to force the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics to recognize a married same-sex couple as legal parents of their child.

The lawsuit was filed in Utah federal court on behalf of Angie and Kami Roe, who seek to both be recognized as parents to their daughter, Lucy.

Under Utah’s assisted reproduction statute, the husband of a woman who conceives with donated sperm is automatically recognized as the child’s parent. But because Angie is Kami’s wife instead of her husband, the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics refuses to recognize Angie as Lucy’s parent.

The office told the couple that they must go through an expensive, invasive, and time-consuming step-parent adoption process in order for them to provide Lucy the protection of two legal parents. Plaintiffs argue that the Office’s refusal to recognize female spouses as parents under Utah’s assisted reproduction statues violates their right to equal protection.

“Kami and I should not have to go through a time-consuming legal procedure to give our daughter the protection of having two legal parents. All we are asking is to be treated the same way that other married couples are already treated under state law ,” explained plaintiff, Angie Roe.

“In light of cases like Kitchen and Evans, which make clear that Utah must extend the same rights and privileges in marriage to same-sex and different-sex couples alike, the State’s attempt to apply the assisted reproduction statute differently for male and female spouses is untenable and harmful,” said Leah Farrell, Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Utah. “All Utah families deserve the recognition afforded to them under Utah law.”

The plaintiffs have also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction. With this motion, they ask the Court to order  the Office of Vital Records and Statistics to recognize Angie and Lucy’s parent while the case is being argued further in order to put an end to the harms the State’s refusal to recognize her is causing the family.

To view today’s filings, go to http://www.acluutah.org/legal-work/current-cases/item/989-roe-v-patton

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