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Lesbian Couple Sues Utah for Legal Recognition as Child’s Parents

A married lesbian couple filed a lawsuit this week to force the Utah vital records office to recognise them as the legal parents of their child.

The ACLU of Utah and the national ACLU LGBT Project filed the complaint in U.S. District Court on behalf of Angie and Kami Roe, who seek to both be recognised as parents to their daughter, Lucy.

Under the state’s assisted reproduction law, the husband of a woman who conceives with donated sperm is automatically recognised 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 recognise Angie as Lucy’s parent, according to the ACLU.

The office told the couple that they must go through an expensive and invasive step-parent adoption process to become Lucy’s legal parents, the ACLU says. They argue in the lawsuit that the office’s refusal to recognise female spouses as parents violates their right to equal protection.

Angie Roe said in a news release.

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.”

The lawsuit names Utah Department of Health executive director David Patton and vital statistics office director Richard Oborn as defendants.

According to health department spokesman Tom Hudachko…

While we have not had the opportunity to review today’s filing, we have been working for several months with both the ACLU and the plaintiffs in an attempt to reach a solution. Our hope is to resolve the issue at hand in a manner that serves the best interest of all parties,”

Leah Farrell, ACLU of Utah attorney, said in light of cases such as Kitchen v. Herbert, which make clear that Utah must extend the same rights in marriage to all couples, the state’s attempt to apply the assisted reproduction law differently for male and female spouses is untenable and harmful.

The Roes have also asked the court for a preliminary injunction requiring the vital records office to recognize Kami Roe as Lucy’s parent while the case is being argued.

 

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