ACLU wants both same-sex parents on Neb. birth certificates

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union wants a federal judge to order Nebraska to list both parents on birth certificates of children born to same-sex couples.

The nonprofit’s Nebraska chapter made the request Thursday on behalf of Nicole and Brooke Wagner and other same-sex parents. The couple’s baby is nearly 2 months old and still doesn’t have a birth certificate, because the Nebraska Office of Vital Records and Statistics only has offered to list Nicole Wagner as the “mother” and Brooke Wagner as a “friend,” the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1iPLI3c ) reported.

The solution provided to the couple made them feel discriminated against, with Nicole Wagner calling it “a slap in the face,” and Brooke Wagner saying it was a step backward.

“It was almost embarrassing to think that that was a fix,” Brooke Wagner said. “Like they didn’t take our relationship and our marriage as serious as we do.”

The ACLU said in court documents that the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has refused to provide married gay couples with birth certificates for their children on the same conditions as married straight couples.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that same-sex couples nationwide have the right to get married, at least one other same-sex couple in Nebraska has been unable to list both of their names on the birth certificate of their newborn. Birth certificates were listed in the high court’s ruling among many marital protections that must be provided equally to married same-sex couples, the ACLU said.

The Nebraska Office of Vital Records and Statistics confirmed Thursday that its birth certificate forms haven’t changed since the same-sex marriage opinion.

“We continue to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court decision on programs within our agency,” state Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Leah Bucco-White wrote in an email.

When a child is born to a same-sex couple, the agency only will list the name of the spouse who gave birth to the baby on his or her birth certificate. The ACLU argues that both same-sex spouses, regardless of who’s the biological parent, should be listed on birth certificates.

The organization argues that Nebraska’s actions are unequal and clearly violate the Supreme Court’s mandate.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office is reviewing the request.

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