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Florida Legislature Looks to Modernize Birth Certificates

Along with the legalization of same-sex marriages has come a tremendous shift in the traditional labels that state forms and other legal documents use to designate parents and their children. In response, some state legislators are looking to modernize Florida’s birth certificates in recognition of the fact that not all families fit the traditional model of husband, wife, and child.

Current Florida Birth Certificates

At present, there are only four states left – Florida, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Arkansas – that have not updated their birth certificates to reflect the significant changes that have taken place in modern parenting in recent years. Under current law, the Florida Department of Health has no authority to list same-couples as parents of a child on a birth certificate. Instead, Florida birth certificates still list “Father” and “Mother,” regardless of the sex of either parent. As a result, a lesbian couple who have a child together must file a petition in court and obtain a court order from a judge in order to have their names listed as mother, spouse, or parent on the child’s birth certificate.

Pending Legislation

A unanimous House Committee approved pending legislation that would give the Department of Health the power to change the traditional designations on Florida birth certificates at a couple’s request. The sponsor of the bill, David Richardson, stated that the legislation would not only address same-sex married couples who have a child, but also take into account recent advances in reproductive technology that don’t necessarily lead to a clear designation of a woman as the sole biological mother. The proposed law would allow parents to be designated as mother, father, or parent, depending on their preferences.

Projections for the Future

In light of the legality of same-sex marriage in the United States, the pending legislation may not seem very controversial, particularly since the vast majority of states already have passed similar legislation. However, advocates of the legislation acknowledge that the chances of passing the legislation are very slim. Another measure to repeal a Florida state law that bans gay marriage, which still remains on the books in Florida, despite court rulings finding otherwise, appears to be doomed in the Republican-led Florida legislature, as well, as the legislative session winds to a close next month. Florida’s constitution also contains a ban on gay marriage, which was added by voters in 2008.

Call Vanessa L. Prieto, Attorney at Law

At the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, you will find a Fort Lauderdale family law attorney who has the knowledge and the experience that you need to handle all of your concerns with respect to your child, whether they involve timesharing, insurance coverage, or child support. Contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC today, and explore the options that are available to you in your Florida family law case.