MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – Two women will be listed as parents on the birth certificate of a baby born this week in New Jersey, one of the first implications of a state Supreme Court ruling that gives same-sex couples access to the same rights as married couples.
The state and the women agreed in a closed family court proceeding Monday, the day before the child was born, that both women should be listed in light of the landmark high court ruling. A judge agreed with the state and the women, lawyers said.
In New Jersey, birth certificates are typically mailed to parents.
Assistant Attorney General Patrick DeAlmeida said the women are the first he knows of to take advantage of new rights granted by the Oct. 25 ruling.
Under state law, the husband of a woman who gives birth through artificial insemination is listed on the birth certificate as the father. No such provision is made for lesbian couples, who often go through lengthy and costly adoptions to give both women equal rights as parents.
Parental rights are especially important to children because they establish inheritance rights and custody should a parent die. Listing both parents on a birth certificate also allows the child to be covered by the health insurance of either parent.
The state Supreme Court ruling said the state must extend all the rights of marriage to gay couples and gave lawmakers six months to work out the details — including whether the unions should be called "marriages."