I’m thinking about courts this week, as a few recent court cases have involved same-sex parents and our right to be recognized as parents, as well as the right of same-sex couples (with or without kids) to gain the benefits of marriage. Luckily, things seem to be (mostly) in our favor.
- The Vermont Supreme Court ruled Friday in favor of Sarah Sinnott, a mom whose former partner sought to block her relationship with the daughter they jointly adopted. The couple was not married, and a lower court said Vermont law did not recognize parentage other than by married parents or those with a genetic relationship to their child. GLAD, which represented Sinnott, The ruling noted that this outcome aligns Vermont with that of the “modern trend” in several other states, including the other New England states and New York. Notably, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of an unmarried nonbio mom in Partanen v. Gallagher in October 2016, and the New York Court of Appeals did so in in Brooke B. v Elizabeth C.C. in August 2016.
- An Arkansas judge said the state’s birth-certificate system will have to shut down unless lawyers for the state and for the plaintiffs can agree on how to fix it by January 5, in accordance with the pivotal July ruling Pavan v. Smith, which said both members of a same-sex couple have the right to be on their children’s birth certificates.
- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans—but this seems to have been a matter of court procedure, as the case is still awaiting final judgment in a Texas lower court, after being remanded there by the state Supreme Court. GLAD and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have put out a joint statement noting, “We hope and expect the Texas trial court, on remand, will uphold spousal benefits for employees married to a person of the same sex, as Obergefell and common sense require.”
- And stay tuned for news tomorrow of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which could have massive repercussions on discrimination protections for all kinds of people.