Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Health

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

RECOMMENDED READING


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
Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

Big Tobacco’s anti-smoking ads begin after decade of delay

WASHINGTON — Decades after they were banned from the airwaves, Big Tobacco companies return to prime-time television this weekend — but not by choice. Under court order, the tobacco industry for the first time will be forced to advertise the deadly, ...
Published: 11/21/17

Owning dogs may be great for your heart and lower risk of death, study finds

Dog ownership correlates with lower rates of mortality and some fatal diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, a study published this past week concluded.The study in the journal Scientific Reports found that canine ownership was associated wit...
Published: 11/19/17
New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

New shingles vaccine touted as a breakthrough for older adults

Medical researchers and government health policymakers, a cautious lot, normally take pains to keep expectations modest when they’re discussing some new finding or treatment.They warn about studies’ limitations. They point out what isn’t known. They ...
Published: 11/17/17
BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

BayCare’s HealthHub breaks ground behind Valrico shopping center

VALRICO — Health care officials broke ground Thursday on the long anticipated HealthHub at Bloomingdale, which will bring about 150 jobs to an area that’s experiencing tremendous growth and provide patients with the latest in technological care.A pro...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/19/17
In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

In Tampa Bay and elsewhere, early numbers show record sign-ups for Obamacare

Despite the budget cuts, the attempts to repeal and replace, and reports of sharp rises in premiums, Floridians and other Americans are signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act at record rates this year.Enrollment has surged 47 p...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Study: Mental quickness exercises can lower risk of dementia

Where did I leave my keys?As we age, it can take longer to answer a question like that.Humans begin to lose cognitive ability at age 25. Dementia, or the decline of memory most commonly seen in aging adults, takes hold early on and is gradual, but ac...
Published: 11/16/17
Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

Blood pressure of 130 is the new ‘high,’ according to update of guidelines

The nation’s heart experts tightened the guidelines for high blood pressure Monday, a change that will sharply increase the number of U.S. adults considered hypertensive in the hope that they, and their doctors, will address the deadly condition earl...
Published: 11/13/17
Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

Are Honey Nut Cheerios healthy? A look inside the box

I had a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios recently. It had been awhile. Regular Cheerios are more my thing. But sometimes I finish my box faster than my kids do and find myself straying to their side of the cupboard.Honey Nut is America’s best-selling break...
Published: 11/11/17
Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

Owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg faces federal inquiry over funds for low-income patients

The corporate owner of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg could be facing a serious federal investigation related to its commitment to take care of St. Petersburg’s poorest residents.In its most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commiss...
Published: 11/09/17
Updated: 11/14/17
Father in New Tampa uses monkey Kookabuk to help young autism patients

Father in New Tampa uses monkey Kookabuk to help young autism patients

As a 7-year-old boy, Kevin Howard spent months in the hospital with a bone infection in his leg.A stuffed monkey named Kookabuk helped him make it through the scary experience."I was told he had magical powers," Howard said of the monkey, a gift from...
Published: 11/07/17
Updated: 11/19/17