Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Utah Will Not Appeal Ruling on Lesbian Couple’s Parental Rights

Courtesy Kami Roe
The Roe family

The Utah Attorney General’s office will not appeal a federal judge’s ruling that a married lesbian couple has the right to put both of their names on their baby’s birth certificate.

A Utah federal court ruled Wednesday that the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics must recognize a same-sex married couple as legal parents of their child. Plaintiff Kami Roe, the biological parent, says she’s ecstatic that her wife Angie Roe will be able to immediately claim parental rights to her daughter, Lucy. 

“It makes a huge difference in our lives, knowing that Angie is a legal parent to Lucy,” Roe says. “Hopefully this will be something that will help other couples experiencing the same thing within our state and possibly other states.”

Utah's Solicitor General Parker Douglas argued that putting both names on the birth certificate could affect accuracy in vital statistics record-keeping and family stability. But a spokesperson for the Utah Attorney General’s Office told KUER that the state will not appeal the ruling.

Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, represented the couple. He was surprised that Utah wanted to pursue the case even after the Supreme Court ruled last month that all equal protection rights stemming from marriage must be granted to same-sex couples.

“We definitely hope that any other state that is considering dragging their heels in treating same sex couples equally will look at what happened in Utah and now think twice about that,” Block says. There are similar cases still pending in Arkansas, Indiana and Wisconsin, but he says he’s hopeful that most states will resolve the issue before using taxpayer resources in a court battle.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.