The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari in Box v. Hendersona case out of Indiana about the state's obligation to recognize same-sex spouses and different-sex spouses equally on their children's birth certificates, according to a National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) press release.
"We are so happy for our clients, and other same-sex parents and their children in Indiana, who can finally breathe a sigh of relief that they will continue to be recognized families on their children's birth certificates," said NCLR Deputy Director and Family Law Director Cathy Sakimura (she/her). "The Supreme Court rightly denied this case because it has already clearly decided that same-sex spouses and different-sex spouses must be treated equally."
When Indiana began allowing same-sex couples to marry in 2015 after the Supreme Court recognized that same-sex couples have a right to marry in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Indiana Department of Vital Records refused to place same-sex spouses on its children's birth certificates. Eight female same-sex couples who conceived children through sperm donation sought the right to be recognized on their children's birth certificates in federal court.
In 2016, the federal District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ordered the state to begin placing the spouses of people who give birth on their children's birth certificate regardless of the gender of the spouse. The state of Indiana appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which in January 2020 upheld the ruling and ordered the state to treat same-sex and different-sex couples equally.
The state of Indiana then filed a petition for certiorari, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case in June 2020. The Supreme Court denied the state's petition on Dec. 14, 2020, upholding the Seventh Circuit's opinion that Indiana must list same-sex spouses on its children's birth certificates in the same manner that it does for different-sex spouses.
NCLR, along with Ropes & Gray LLP, represented the couples before the U.S. Supreme Court, along with Indiana counsel Karen Celestino-Horseman, Raymond Faust, Richard Mann and William Groth.