In 2009, just months after Melissa Gartner and Heather Gartner married, Melissa gave birth to the couple’s first daughter. They expected they would both be listed on baby MacKenzie’s birth certificate, as they had been when they adopted son Zachary, but that was not the case.
The Iowa Department of Health lists only Heather as a parent of MacKenzie on the birth certificate. The Des Moines Register explains this is because, “Of states that recognize civil unions, only Iowa prohibits two women from being listed as parents on a child’s birth certificate. The exception is if a child is adopted.” The mothers sued, and their case is now being heard by the Iowa Supreme Court.
The Gartners argue that they and their daughter will not receive the same benefits afforded to other couples who are parents, such as the ability for Melissa to make medical decisions for her child. They also say it’s unfair, as reported by USA Today, “… that the state lists heterosexual couples as parents on a birth certificate even when they conceive as they did: via anonymous donor insemination.” Very unfair, if you ask me.
It is unclear at this point when a ruling will be made by Iowa District Judge Eliza Ovrom.