Couple sues state over same-sex parentage rights

Posted at 9:21 PM, Apr 13, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-13 23:21:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- They’ve been denied parentage and now they’re suing.

The ACLU of Utah has filed a lawsuit against the Utah Department of Health, stating that the non-birth parent in a same-sex couple is not allowed on the child’s birth certificate.

“Right now in the eyes of the law I'm not her parent,” said Angie Roe, even though she and her wife Kami were legally married in Utah, and both agreed and consented to having a child together with a sperm donor.

“We just want to be treated the same under the law as opposite sex couples are,” she added.

Kami Roe told FOX 13, “If a man were to go through this process with his wife it wouldn't even be a question so that's just all we're asking is equality.”

The couple is fighting to be recognized under the state’s assisted reproduction statutes so Angie can be added to their daughter’s birth certificate immediately. Going through the step-parent adoption process to become a legal guardian can take months that the couple doesn’t feel they should have to give up.

“A couple of months of waiting is not nothing. The security or the lack of security that are in those months is a real thing but beyond that there's just the principle of equality that they are being treated differently just because of gender of one of the people in the couples and that's not right,” said Staff attorney with the ACLU of Utah, Leah Farrell.

The health department issued the following statement:

“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."

Though there have been other lawsuits that address same-sex couples and their adoptive children, this specific issue pertaining to the state’s assisted reproduction statutes has not been addressed.

Couples who have been required to go through the step-parent adoption process have had to go through various steps, including filing a petition to adopt, submitting a background check, waiting until a judge schedules a hearing on their adoption then appearing in person to get the judge’s ruling.