In a letter sent to a Suffolk hospital last week, Virginia’s state registrar detailed how the children of same-sex parents should be handled on birth certificates to make sure both parents are listed.
“when there are two female spouses in a legal marriage both spouses can be listed on their child’s birth certificate when one of the spouses is the gestational mother,” reads the letter.
Janet M. Reiny (yes, the same Rainey who was the defendant in the Bostic. V. Rainey case which overturned Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, wrote the letter in her professional capacity as state registrar.
“These are important steps toward implementing marriage equality in Virginia,” said ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg who sent out a press release praising Rainey for clarifying the issue. “All Virginia agencies should be carefully reviewing their procedures to ensure that the marriages of same-sex couples are treated the same as all other marriages.”
The ACLU of Virginia clarified what the state registrar’s letter meant:
Under Virginia law, when a married woman gives birth as a result of assisted conception (e.g., artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization), she and her spouse are presumed to be the legal parents of the child, and both spouses are listed as parents on the birth certificate. Under the new procedures, this presumption applies to same-sex spouses just as it does to opposite sex spouses.
One of the same-sex couples who sued Virginia for the ban on their union, Christy Berghoff and Victoria Kidd (top image left and middle), took steps to make their child Lydia’s (top image right) birth certificate accurate in response to the new ruling.
“We have always been a two-parent family,” said Christy. “Victoria has always been as much Lydia’s mother as I have, and we are thrilled that Lydia will finally have a birth certificate that reflects that reality.”
Prior to this new directive, Lydia only had Christy listed as her mother on the legal document.