Same-sex parents file suit against state for baby’s birth certificate

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 8, 2015) - The next chapter of Indiana’s same-sex marriage law is now impacting a newborn baby girl. The baby girl’s parents, both women, are suing the State to have both of their names on her birth certificate.

“She is such an incredible gift,” said Jackie Phillips-Stackman, who is legally married to her wife, Lisa.

Their newborn baby is seven week-old Lola.

“You know since she has a long hyphenated last name, we thought we’d give her a nice short first name,” said Lisa.

Lisa gave birth to Lola back in October. Jackie is having to act like a step parent even if it’s her egg. Years ago, Jackie had a hysterectomy and was able to preserve her eggs. Later when she met Lisa, they decided to build a family with the help of a donor.

“Lisa offered to carry Lola for me and that meant the world to me,” said Jackie. “So we proceeded with fertility doctors and wanted to see what we needed to do to make that happen.”

Unfortunately, the pregnancy was not without complications and Lola was born with a rare health problem of a chromosome deletion.

“It’s a very rare thing,” said Jackie. “Our genetic counselor at the time couldn’t find maybe 40 or 45 case studies.”

Also rare for Indiana is to have two moms wanting to get their names on a child’s birth certificate. Because Lisa was the one who gave birth, she is the only name allowed by the State to be on Lola’s birth certificate.

“We understand that this is just unchartered territory in Indiana right now, but it’s pretty simple because we did this together,” said Jackie.

The Phillips-Stackmans are fighting to change the law with the help of their attorney Karen Celestino-Horseman.

“You know, when your child is born, that is supposed to be a joyous occasion,” said Celestino-Horseman. “

As the present law stands, Jackie can only be a step-parent even though she’s biologically connected to Lola.

“The basics of the case are this: when a man and a woman are married, and if the wife becomes artificially inseminated by a third party sperm donor, then the husband can be listed on the child’s birth certificate,” explained Celestino-Horseman. “[The State] does not make that same offer, they do not offer that same legal fiction to same-sex couples.”

Celestino-Horseman filed a preliminary injunction with intent of a permanent injunction to allow for both parents names to be on Lola’s birth certificate, or any other same-sex family’s baby’s birth certificate. She says there are many other families that have come to her with similar situations.

“The Indiana legislature has not gone in and changed statues to reflect that marriage now includes couples of the same sex,” said Celestino-Horseman, who added that other states like Utah and Texas have already adopted similar changes that reflect the law.

“We know there’s been other people who are fighting this fight right along with us,” said Jackie.

The Indiana Department of Health was contacted and replied with, “No comment.”

“It’s only right,” said Celestino-Horseman. “Because they’re family. They planned on having that child together. They went through that pregnancy together. They love that child together.”

There are a few other families listed in the lawsuit. As for next steps, it could take up to 30 to 45 days to hear from the courts.

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