Weiss v. Brajer

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Status: Closed
Outcome:
Victory
Court:
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
Issues: Anti-LGBT Rulings, Laws and Amendments, Marriage, Relationships and Family Protections

Federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on behalf of Melissa and Meredith Weiss, a married lesbian couple seeking birth certificates listing both mothers as parents of their two sons.

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Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina on behalf of Melissa and Meredith Weiss, a married lesbian couple seeking birth certificates listing both mothers as parents of their two sons. After being together for several years, Chapel Hill residents Melissa and Meredith Weiss traveled to Ontario, Canada, in August 2003 to get married. When they returned to North Carolina, they began their efforts to have children. Both children were conceived by Melissa through in vitro fertilization.

Prior to their first child’s birth in July 2006, the Weisses secured a court order declaring both women as his legal parents and ordering the Registrar to issue a birth certificate listing both parents’ names. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) refused. Their second child, D.W., was born in November 2008. Shortly after he was born, Melissa and Meredith were granted an adoption order recognizing they were both D.W.’s legal parents. Based on DHHS’ refusal to respect the first court order, they did not seek a corrected birth certificate for D.W. until marriage equality came to North Carolina. On October 14, 2014, Melissa and Meredith requested new birth certificates listing both women as the children’s parent, providing DHHS with the court orders and proof of their 2003 marriage. More than a year later, their children’s birth certificates still inaccurately reflect that they were born to an unmarried woman and list Meredith as the only parent of one child and Melissa as the only parent of the other.

In May 2015, DHHS issued policies regarding birth certificates for children of married same-sex couples saying that only children born after October 10, 2014 could receive new birth certificates listing both parents.  Inexplicably, DHHS polices do not allow children, like the Weiss children, who were born to married same-sex couples before October 10, 2014, to get new birth certificates naming both spouses as parents, effectively erasing one parent from the family in the eyes of the State and leaving these children more vulnerable, less protected and unfairly stigmatized.