ACLU Applauds New N.C. Guidelines for Listing Same-Sex Spouses on Children’s Birth Certificates

May 15, 2015 12:00 pm

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RALEIGH – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina is applauding new guidelines issued by North Carolina officials that allow the same-sex spouse of a woman who gives birth to a child during the marriage to be listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. The ACLU worked with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in developing the new guidelines.

“These new guidelines are important because they reflect North Carolina’s recognition that lesbian spouses can both be legal parents to children born to the couple,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Being able to have birth certificates that accurately reflect a child’s family will have important practical and psychological benefits for families. Married lesbian couples who have children will no longer face the challenge of trying to register their kids for school or get them a Social Security card without a birth certificate naming both parents, and their children will not have the insecurity of seeing only one of their two parents on their birth certificate.”

North Carolina Vital Records, which is responsible for the issuance of birth certificates and is housed within DHHS, allows a non-biological father to be listed on the birth certificate of a child born to his wife through donor sperm. Before the new guidelines were issued, married lesbian couples who had children the same way were told that the non-biological parent could not be listed on their child’s birth certificate upon the birth of the child. The ACLU worked with DHHS on the policy change after being contacted by many affected couples in the wake of North Carolina’s recognition of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in October 2014.

Vital Records distributed new policy guidance and forms to Birth Registrars statewide earlier this week. Families who are affected by or have questions about the new policy are encouraged to call North Carolina Vital Records at 919-792-5991.

The ACLU of North Carolina is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving and expanding the guarantees of individual liberty found in the United States and North Carolina Constitutions and related federal and state civil rights laws. With more than 12,000 members and supporters throughout the state and an office located in Raleigh, the organization achieves its mission through advocacy, public education, community outreach, and when necessary, litigation. Visit for more information.

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