The state of Virginia is not required to issue new birth certificates for children born in Virginia and adopted by gay couples in other states, a judge ruled Wednesday in a setback for advocates of gay marriage and adoption. The judge ruled that requiring the state to issue birth certificates reflecting the unmarried status of the children's adoptive parents, rather than their birth parents, goes against Virginia's public policy prohibiting adoption by unmarried couples. "What this court is being asked to do is recognize a status that Virginia does not accord to its own citizens," Richmond circuit judge Randall G. Johnson said. "It's asking this court to do something that the public policy of Virginia simply does not allow."
Three gay couples filed a lawsuit in 2002 after they were unable to get Virginia's record-keeping agency to issue new birth certificates for their adopted children that included the names of the children's adoptive parents. Rebecca Glenberg, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, said Wednesday that getting the updated birth certificates is important in such matters as enrolling the children in school. The couples' lawyers said they will talk to their clients about appealing.