By: Shohreh Davoodi, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
In Adar v. Smith, the Fifth Circuit held that Louisiana’s policy of refusing to issue accurate birth certificates to the children of out-of-state, same-sex adoptive parents does not deny those families equal protection of the law. This comment demonstrates that Louisiana’s policy does in fact violate the Equal Protection Clause. There are two ways Louisiana’s policy infringes on the rights of these families. First, the policy burdens fundamental rights stemming from the family autonomy of both parents and children. Second, the policy discriminates against out-of-state same-sex parents, treating them like second-class citizens. These concerns are strong enough that the policy should be subject to some form of heightened scrutiny. Louisiana’s failure to issue accurate birth certificates revisits valid parentage determinations made by other states and undermines the strength of those parent-child relationships. Louisiana lacks a legitimate interest in denying these out-of-state families fundamental rights and discriminating against them on the basis of sexual orientation. Consequently, the policy is unconstitutional.
Cite as: Shohreh Davoodi, More Than a Piece of Paper: Same-Sex Parents and Their Adopted Children are Entitled to Equal Protection in the Realm of Birth Certificates, 90 Chi.-Kent. L. Rev. 703 (2015).