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Birth certificates and same-sex parents

Married same-sex couples in Florida can now have both of them listed on birth certificates of their children, according to an announcement by the Department of Health. However, the document will inaccurately categorize the parents as "mother" and "father."

The Department of Health instructed all hospitals and birthing centers throughout the state to begin issuing birth certificates to married same-sex parents. The department is also offering amended birth certificates to same-sex couples who were denied the right to have both parents listed in the past. Couples can also request gender-neutral birth certificates when they become available.

Florida's decision to list both same-sex parents on their child's birth certificate comes 16 months after marriage equality became law in the state. While this is a legal victory, LGBT advocates point out that same-sex couples and their families still face many legal challenges that need to be resolved before full equality is achieved.

Many same-sex couples choose to adopt children. In some cases, one partner will have a biological child and their partner will petition the court to adopt him or her. In other instances, both partners will adopt a child through the state's foster program or a private adoption agency. While same-sex couples have achieved equality in many areas, there are still many legal hurdles that can pop up during the adoption process. To ensure that their rights are protected, same-sex couples often work with a family attorney familiar with the state's adoption laws and LGBT issues. Same-sex couples who already have children may also find it prudent to periodically consult with their attorney as marriage equality evolves to ensure their family is treated equally under the law.

Source: WEAR TV, "Florida Now Issuing Birth Certificates Listing Same-Sex Parents," Kirstin Kerns, May 17, 2016

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