- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Department of Health has asked a Pulaski County judge to suspend his order requiring the agency to amend the birth certificates of babies born to three same-sex couples.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled Monday that the couples who sued the state for refusing to name both spouses on the birth certificates of their children could get the documents amended to list both names.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/21g6ien ) reports that the health department asserted Tuesday that Fox’s ruling does not go into effect until it’s been put into writing.

Fox said Monday that he will issue a written ruling, probably in December. Fox said he is preparing the written ruling to address the couples’ accusations that the agency holds gay couples to a different standard from heterosexual couples when it issues documents.

The agency says that it only draws distinctions based on biology, not gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

The couples said the department would only list the biological mother on the birth certificate, and said they were told a court order would be needed to have both spouses listed. The couples say they need both names listed on the birth certificate so the children can receive health insurance.

Cheryl Maples, the attorney representing the couples, said the agency would not be harmed by immediately complying with the judge’s ruling, but a stay could be “devastating” for the families in the event of an emergency. According to Maples, the health department is asking for a stay so that it can appeal Fox’s ruling.

Maples said a May 2014 ruling by Circuit Judge Chris Piazza essentially ordered the agency to issue birth certificates reflecting both parents of children born in same-sex relationships, so state officials cannot say that they have not had enough time to prepare the appropriate procedures and forms.

Piazza’s ruling came before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriages.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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