Des Moines - Lambda Legal filed a brief to the Iowa Supreme Court on Monday, May 21 2012 in the case of Melissa and Heather Gartner, to have both of their names listed on the birth certificate of their daughter, MacKenzie.
MacKenzie was born to Heather Gartner in 2009, but the Iowa Department of Public Health originally refused to list Melissa—who is married to Heather under Iowa law—on the birth certificate.
In May 2010, Lambda Legal filed suit, pointing out that Iowa law requires providing same-sex couples the same legal consideration as opposite-sex couples, and arguing that denying the children of same-sex couples an accurate birth certificate was denying them equal protection:
As a result of Lambda Legal's marriage equality lawsuit Varnum v. Brien, same-sex couples have married in Iowa since April 2009. Under Iowa law, a child born to a married couple is presumed the legitimate child of both spouses. This presumption applies equally to children of same-sex and different-sex married parents. In accordance with this presumption, Iowa law requires the Iowa Department of Public Health to list both spouses as a child's parents on the child's birth certificate regardless of whether the child bears a genetic relationship to both spouses, and even in cases where it is impossible for the child to be genetically related to both spouses. However, the Iowa Department of Public Health has refused to apply this law equally to the children of same-sex couples, denying them—and only them—accurate birth certificates until their married parents perform a costly and intrusive adoption proceeding.
In January 2012, District Judge Eliza Ovrom ruled that the birth certificate be issued to Melissa and Heather Gartner, but the Branstad administration appealed the ruling the following month.