Under Indiana law, the husband of a woman giving birth is presumed to be the father and his name goes on the certificate--even if he's not the father. But because Lisa's spouse was a woman, Indiana officials have refused to put her name on the certificate. Lisa and Jackie are suing with six other same sex couples claiming their constitutional rights have been violated because Indiana officials refused to place both spouses names on the birth certificate. Lisa and Jackie's case may be more compelling because Jackie is Lola's biological mother. She had embryos created with her eggs and frozen two years ago, before she met Lisa.
I have no problem with Jackie's name on Lola's birth certificate. Gay and Lesbian married couples should not be treated differently than straight married couples.
WHOSE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT?
What causes me to scratch my head is how this is Lisa's and Jackie's constitutional right. The birth certificate belongs to Lola. It's what will be used for her to enroll in school, obtain a passport, and qualify for social security, likely long after Lisa and Jackie are gone.
There's an irony here. Courts have held adoptees have no constitutional right to see their original birth certificates--but the plaintiffs here are claiming a constitutional right to control what goes on their child's birth certificate.
Shouldn't little Lola have a say on what goes on her certificate? Of course we don't know what Lola wants but should Lola get what Lisa and Jackie want? It's reasonable to think Lola might want to know the names of her biological parents, in this case, Jackie and Mr. Sperm Donor. Lola might also want a document with the names of her legal parents, Lisa and Jackie for purposes of inheritance.
In a perfect world, Lola would have two documents, one with the names of her biological parents and one with the names of her legal parents. She could use the legal parents certificate for enrolling in school, signing up for softball, and so on. When Lola turns 18, she should get the certificate with the names of her biological parents. This document would help her find them if she desired to do so. Of course this isn't a perfect world.
OBCs REFLECT SOCIETAL NORMS, NOT ALWAYS REALITY
Laws governing birth certificates are contorted to reflect the wants of adults and societal values. Thus, amended birth certificates show the name of adoptive parents as "the parents,"--as if they gave birth to the child, when obviously, they did not. (Unless of course, a biological parent who terminated parental rights later reunites and "adopts" their biological child. It's happened.)
Unmarried fathers cannot have their names on their children's birth certificates unless they and the children's mothers go through lots of legal hoops. That's why so many original birth certificates of adoptees say "father unknown" or similar language, leaving the individual at first to believe his mother did not know who his father was. The reasoning behind this is that "illegitimate" children have no fathers. One consequence is that biological fathers have an uphill battle to prevent the mothers of their children from placing them for adoption--especially in some states where adoption is seen as the preferred course of action for any child born to a single mother and religious custom enforces this. Then look for unscrupulous adoption agencies to set up shop and swoop in and tell mothers to lie to the fathers about the particulars of their location and the birth.
Of course, if mothers apply for welfare, states will chase down these non-existent fathers.
All of this brings to mind Sir Walter Scott's famous line: "Oh what a tangled web we weave--when first we practice to deceive." Now that states have gone down the long road of using birth certificates to meet perceived social goals rather than provide factual information, it will take an Alexander to untangle this Gordian knot--jane
Lorraine here, with a somewhat related fugue: While I am sick with a sinus infection, I have been watching movies on demand and caught up with "The Delivery Man," a quasi-comedy about a man who donated sperm over 693 times in 1991 and due to a mixup at the sperm bank, now has 533 children--and they want to know who their father is. Starring everybody's idea of a good-natured Polish guy, Vince Vaughn, the movie treats the subject both lighthearted (from Wozniak, the Vaughn character's perspective) and seriously but humorously (from the children's point of view).
As a comedy the plot has other twists and turns but I will cut to the chase for us: When the case finally gets to court, the lawyer for the children and the children themselves make all the statements that adoptees in search make: Knowing his father ...."is central to who I am. It's really all I think about"..."There have been a lot of transitions in my life"..."I just want to feel like I have a part of myself"..."I would like to meet the guy--man--who created me." Their lawyer: "...blocking off this vital information has had, and will continue to have, a negative psychological impact on each and every one of his children."
The word "real" as in "real family" is used, criticized, and questioned--by a "real" son. None of the "child" actors look like Vaughn, but that's alright, though it would have been fun to have at least one that looked like him a great deal. Of course that must happen in real life.
It's on Showtime On Demand. I wasn't disappointed, and found it at turns funny, touching and heart-warming.
There is a French movie on the same topic. Anybody know its name? I'd like to see it but can't figure out how to search for it.
Click on the photo or title to rent from Amazon. Order anything and FMF is credited. This is FMF's tip jar.
Indianapolis same-sex couple fights to get both names on daughter's birth certificate
Birth Certificate or Certificate of Title?
Wrong Name on Birth Certificate?
TO READ/TO WATCH
The Delivery Man
"It seemed like a good idea at the time: David Wozniak used his talents to donate to a fertility clinic in his youth, thereby banking a nice chunk of change for a specific goal (which will be revealed late in Delivery Man). Twenty years later, this youthful business plan comes back to haunt David, because he abruptly learns that the clinic farmed out his donations to hundreds of clients--and his biological progeny now number over 500. That's shock enough, but 142 of these chips off the old block are suing to learn the identity of the donor. All this is going on while hapless David is fending off loan sharks and the disapproval of his neglected girlfriend. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because director Ken Scott already made this story in 2011's Starbuck, and adapts his own movie quite closely here. The big change is the presence of Vince Vaughn in the lead role, a chance for Vaughn to do his likable-goof routine while also tugging a few heartstrings. Vaughn is an ingratiating actor, and gets able support here from Chris Pratt and Cobie Smulders, but the movie goes a little too blandly for feel-good solutions and ignores one too many 'Why didn't he just do this' moments that might have solved the whole problem. After a while even Vaughn's efforts can't bail out a storyline this convoluted.--Robert Horton
When the reviewer asks--Why didn't he just do that? He needs to know how many fathers and mothers stay in the closet.
By Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor
The book came out in 1999, as fee-donor insemination was becoming mainstream in the U.S. It is outlawed in Great Britian and elsewhere, dramatically reducing the number of children born with purchased sperm.
"Lethal Secrets" takes a long-range view of donor insemination by interviewing donor offspring, donors and parents years after the fact. Taking a hard look at the ramifications of secrecy and donor insemination is not the norm, nor is advocating for openness. Many, if not most, doctors, patients and sperm banks continue to advocate for secrecy, blithely ignoring the psychological dangers of this widespread practice. Baran and Pannor are ahead of their time. They support donor insemination, yet argue persuasively for openness: not only is it every child's right to know the truth of his or her genetic heritage, it is healthier for the parents and the donors, as well. If you are considering using donor insemination or even donor egg to have a child, this book is invaluable. I only wish the authors would write a book specifically about the psychological aspects of using donor egg."--Amazon reviewer