- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A same-sex couple is seeking to force the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to issue a birth certificate listing both women as the parents of their baby boy.

Jessica and Casey Smith of Lawrence married in 2013 in California, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://bit.ly/1iOzkzI ) reported. Casey Smith gave birth to the couple’s son on Sept. 16 at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, which declined to list both women as parents on the boy’s birth certificate, according to their attorney, David Brown.

“If they had been man and a woman, even if they weren’t married, the state would have automatically put both names on the birth certificate without question,” Brown said.

The couple filed an “emergency petition for the determination of parentage” in Douglas County District Court, and judge Sally Pokorny granted the request, directing the state health department to issue a birth certificate listing both women as the child’s parents. But the department refused, saying it wasn’t notified of the women’s petition and wasn’t given the chance to respond, Brown said.

Brown filed a motion Wednesday to join the department in seeking a legal decision on the issue.

The state health department advised Brown that it would be possible for Jessica Smith to adopt the boy through a process similar to adopting a stepchild, he said, but the couple refused.

“That’s an unacceptable and discriminatory requirement,” Brown said. “Whoever heard of adopting their own kid?”

Brown cites a Kansas statue, which was enacted in 1968, allowing artificial insemination “at the request and with the consent in writing of the husband and wife” and considering any child born as the result of such a procedure to “be considered at law in all respects the same as a naturally conceived child of the husband and wife so requesting and consenting to the use of such technique.”

He also cites a 2013 Kansas Supreme Court case in which it was determined that a child can have two mothers.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a statement issued Wednesday that it’s reviewing the lawsuit.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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