A little over a year ago, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a couple who had adopted a Louisiana-born child and sought to get an amended birth certificate from the Louisiana Office of Public Health and Vital Records Registry. The couple wanted both of their names listed on the birth certificate, and the federal court agreed, ordering the office to issue the amended birth certificate.
This week, the 5th Circuit overturned this decision, holding that a Louisiana’s insistence that only one father’s name can go on the certificate does not violate the child’s right to equal protection under the law; nor does it deny legal recognition of the adoption in New York, where custody had been finalized.
Chief Judge Edith Jones wrote for a nine-member majority, rejecting the men’s argument that Louisiana illegally treats adoptive children of unmarried parents differently from adoptive children with married parents, writing that “this theory is unavailing in the face of the state’s rational preference for stable adoptive families, and the state’s decision to have its birth certificate requirements flow from its domestic adoption law.”
Five judges dissented. The author of the dissent, Judge Wiener, noted that New York law recognizes both men as parents and wrote, “I have searched the Constitution in vain for a ‘Half Faith and Credit Clause.'”