Thursday, October 18, 2018
Health

Florida will list both names of same-sex couples on birth certificates

More than a year after gay couples won the right to marry in Florida, the state's Department of Health is allowing both spouses to have their names printed on their baby's birth certificate.

The change comes after three same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit against the state last year over its practice of treating married gay couples differently by listing only one parent on birth certificates. In their suit, the couples said the policy violated their constitutional right to equal protection.

Florida officials responded to the lawsuit by asking a federal judge for clarification on how the ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Florida applies to birth certificates. Told that the state "must list a same-sex spouse who is not a biological parent," officials responded on May 5, instructing hospitals, birth centers and midwives to recognize both parents on the certificates.

For now, married gay couples seeking birth certificates will still have to contend with the old form that offers them the options of "mother" and "father." State officials say they are in the process of revising this document, which could be available sometime in July.

"Florida has dragged its feet long enough — it is some relief that married same-sex couples are finally receiving birth certificates that include both parents, though they are inaccurately listed as 'mother' and 'father,' " said Equality Florida policy and outreach coordinator Hannah Willard.

Florida officially began allowing same-sex marriages on Jan. 5, 2015. But married gay couples quickly discovered that their new status meant little at the hospital, where some refused birth certificates rather than have inaccurate ones drawn up listing only one spouse as a single parent.

It's because of couples like this that Cathy Sakimura, law director of the California-based National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the litigation is not over yet. Same-sex parents who asked to have both names listed on birth certificates and were denied have been told they need to pay a $9 fee to Florida's Department of Health to have the form amended, Sakimura said.

According to state officials, same-sex couples requesting birth certificates today can fill out the old form and the Department of Health will replace it with a new birth record, at no cost, when the updated document becomes available.

Contact Anna M. Phillips at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354. Follow @annamphillips.

Comments
Three things you need to know before you go to Canada for some legal weed

Three things you need to know before you go to Canada for some legal weed

Before you go to Canada to smoke weed, there are some things you need to know.
Published: 10/17/18
Canada now world's largest legal marijuana marketplace

Canada now world's largest legal marijuana marketplace

Canada became the largest country with a legal national marijuana marketplace as sales began early Wednesday in Newfoundland. Power was first in line at a store in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Published: 10/17/18
As drug prices soar, drugmakers keep setting records for campaign donations

As drug prices soar, drugmakers keep setting records for campaign donations

Before the midterm elections heated up, dozens of drugmakers had already poured about $12 million into the war chests of hundreds of members of Congress.Since the beginning of last year, 34 lawmakers have each received more than $100,000 from pharmac...
Published: 10/17/18
To understand homeless people, Tampa photographer spent 18 months meeting with them

To understand homeless people, Tampa photographer spent 18 months meeting with them

TAMPA — On Jim’s arm was a tattoo of a hinge with screw holes indicating where the recovering addict used to inject heroin.Fernando liked to belt out songs he wrote about a love he lost when he fled from Cuba.Timothy had a dog he refuse...
Published: 10/16/18
Little Alexa, who lost her legs and won hearts in Miami, will learn to walk through Shriners in Tampa

Little Alexa, who lost her legs and won hearts in Miami, will learn to walk through Shriners in Tampa

TAMPA — A 3-year-old girl whose legs were amputated because of an infection made it to Miami for treatment earlier this year thanks to reporting by a television journalist in Miami.But it was Shriners Hospital for Children in Tampa that steppe...
Published: 10/16/18
Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

Study: Without Medicaid expansion, poor forgo medical care

WASHINGTON — Low-income people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid are much more likely to forgo needed medical care than the poor in other states, according to a government report released Monday amid election debates from Georgia to Utah over ...
Published: 10/16/18
The Times 2019 Medicare Guide

The Times 2019 Medicare Guide

It has four main parts, labeled A, B, C and D. But after that, the rules can be wickedly complex. Nearly 60 million people are using it right now. And with an estimated 10,000 people reaching age 65 each day in the U.S., that number is growing fast.S...
Published: 10/15/18
Updated: 10/16/18
Drugmakers to disclose prices for medicines advertised on TV

Drugmakers to disclose prices for medicines advertised on TV

TRENTON, N.J. — Dozens of drugmakers will start disclosing the prices for U.S. prescription drugs advertised on TV. The prices won’t actually be shown in the TV commercials but the advertisement will include a website where the list price will be pos...
Published: 10/15/18
Medicare opens enrollment for 2019 with insurers focused on keeping you out of the hospital

Medicare opens enrollment for 2019 with insurers focused on keeping you out of the hospital

The annual Medicare open enrollment period kicks off today, and the news is generally good for nearly 4.4 million Floridians who rely on the program. Premiums are expected to stay roughly the same in 2019, and many plans are offering expanded perks a...
Published: 10/15/18
Nurses at HCA hospitals reach contract agreement

Nurses at HCA hospitals reach contract agreement

Registered nurses from 15 hospitals in Florida owned by the national chain, Hospital Corporation of America, have reached tentative agreements on union contract negotiations. Nurses across Florida and several other states have been picketing, and rec...
Published: 10/12/18