When federal courts defeated countrywide bans on same-sex marriage, future birth certificates for children of same-sex couples were supposed to include the names of both parents. It also opened up the opportunity for preexisting birth certificates of same-sex couples to retroactively be changed to include both parents’ names. However, North Carolina did not change its birth certificate policy immediately following the federal mandate.
When Melissa and Meredith Weiss attempted to have the birth certificates of their sons changed following the federal overruling, they were denied. Knowing that they needed to take serious legal action to correct this egregious error that flew in the face of a federal ruling, they actually sued North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The lawsuit recently closed, and it ended in the couple’s favor.
A Big Win for LGBTQ+ Communities
The victory for the Weiss family is actually not just a victory for them. It represents a huge win for same-sex couples across North Carolina and in other states that may be facing similar opposition and resistance to their lifestyle choices in family law courts and settings. By bringing attention to the issue and having the courage to pursue what they thought was right, same-sex married couples in their state will now more easily be able to enjoy the same benefits, rights, and protections as other married couples in regards to children.
Before the federal courts decision to allow same-sex marriages across the country, the Weisses had to jump through legislative hoops to get the same services as other married couples. Despite a county clerk recognizing both women as the parents of their children – each child was actually born through in vitro fertilization with Melissa – North Carolina made it impossible for them to both be listed as parents due to the law specifically stating “one mother” and “one father.” In order for them both to become legal parents, they had to deal with complicated adoption laws. While that was being sorted out, they ran into a myriad of troubles regarding schools, government services, and even obtaining passports. All of these troubles should be a thing of the past now that the lawsuit has ended in their favor.
For more information about their story, be sure to read a full article posted by The News & Observer, seen here. If you have a family law case of your own that requires a legal professional’s input and assistance, you can come to Hopper Law Office. Our Raleigh family lawyers are passionate about doing everything we can to help families through difficult times like divorce. Be sure to contact us today.