Gay parents push to get both names on birth certificates

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from Dallas Morning News,

For nine months, Molly Maness-Roberson carried her infant son, made from her wife’s egg and an anonymous donor’s sperm.

But when she delivered the baby in early July, hospital officials told her that Texas would not list both her and her spouse on his birth certificate. Texas birth certificates include a space for one mother and one father. They don’t allow for two moms or two dads.

“It just really breaks your heart, that’s the only way I can describe how I felt,” said Maness-Roberson, 27, of Burleson.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage prompted changes to the Texas marriage-license application. Now, some gay and lesbian couples have turned their attention to birth certificates. They want the state to remove gender-specific language from the document and its application forms.

“No matter what kind of family you have, you’re still a family,” Maness-Roberson said. “I feel like you should be recognized as such.”

Maness-Roberson and Keri Roberson, 37, who married in New York in 2012, said they’d like the birth certificate of their son, Boston, to list both of his moms. As legal instruments, birth certificates can be used to help establish parental rights and to qualify a child for financial support and health benefits.

In Texas, about 9,200 same-sex couples are raising children, according to the Williams Institute, a nonpartisan think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is home to about a quarter of those couples.

For the past four legislative sessions, state Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has tried to help those families. Anchia has sponsored legislation to require gender-neutral language in birth certificates. Each time, his bill failed.

Anchia said he favors South Carolina’s approach. There, birth certificates record the names of the “mother/parent” and “father/parent.”

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