Although national marriage equality was enacted in June, same-sex couples all over the country are still facing many hurdles, especially when it comes to legal protections for their children.
Cathy Pareto and Karla Arguello, the first same-sex couple to get married in Florida, have now joined a federal lawsuit against the state because a hospital refused to list both their names on the birth certificates of their newborn twin children.
"The State of Florida is violating the law every day that it denies accurate birth certificates to children born to married same-sex couples," said a statement issued by Shannon Minter, the legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
The lawsuit alleges that state entities like the Bureau of Vital Statistics and the Department of Health are violating the law with their refusal to issue birth certificates to children of same-sex couples with both parents' names, reports Florida news site Saint Peters Blog.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been denying requests to take action against those who won't issue proper birth certificates to children of gay and lesbian couples, the blog adds.
"After months of urging the Bureau of Vital Statistics to comply with the law, we are asking the court to put an end to the harms the Bureau is causing," said Minter. "The children in these families deserve to be protected, and the State of Florida's continuing disregard for their well-being is unconscionable."
Pareto and Arguello join two other Florida-based couples in the suit and are being represented by attorneys Mary Meeks and Elizabeth Schwartz as well as the NCLR.
"There isn't a moment that goes by that I'm not thinking of the harm my children -- my newborns -- may face because we aren't being treated like other families," Pareto said. "All I want to do is love, protect, and provide the best opportunities for our children. The state's refusal to recognize that they have two parents and to list both of us on the birth certificates is demeaning and hurtful. My children have two parents, and we should both be listed on their birth certificates."
Same-sex couples have been marrying in Florida since January, when U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle ruled that all counties in the state must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.