Atlanta Partners Bill Custer, Jen Dempsey and Luke Lantta successfully partnered with Lambda Legal to challenge the State of South Carolina’s policy of refusing to provide accurate birth certificates for the children of same-sex spouses.
The clients, Casy and Jacqueline Carson, were issued birth certificates for their twins listing only Jacqueline as the parent and refusing to list Casy as a parent. Without accurate birth certificates, the couple had difficulty accessing Casy’s benefits for their children through the Veterans Administration and Social Security following her service in the National Guard. Casy and Jacqueline were also concerned that, without such documentation, they might experience problems in obtaining medical care for their twins in the future.
A motion for summary judgment was filed in May 2016, arguing that the policies of South Carolina violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. In its ruling, the Court declared that “Defendant’s failure to treat same-sex spouses in the same manner [Defendant] treats opposite-sex spouses in the issuance of birth certificates violates Plaintiffs’ rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. More specifically, this Court refuses to countenance Defendant’s refusal to name both Plaintiffs on their twins’ birth certificates. Defendant’s present practice is violative of Plaintiffs’ fundamental right to marriage and other protected liberties.”
Click here to read more about this decision on Lambda Legal’s website.