Iowa couple deserves parental rights

Imagine the feeling of tearing open a letter from the Iowa Department of Public Health that is supposed to contain your stillborn child’s death certificate, only to find that your name has been whited out. Jessica and Jennifer Buntemeyer went through the stresses of saving up $18,000 for in vitro fertalization, the pain of losing their Brayden at 30 weeks and the heart-ache of having to fight their own government for their legal rights. The couple had Jennifer’s egg and an anonymously donated sperm, fertilized and inserted into Jessica’s womb. Yet, the IDPH only listed Jessica as the parent on the death certificate. The couple is rightfully suing the governor’s administration, working with a lawyer from Lambda Legal.

But the Buntemeyer’s shouldn’t have to file a law suit against the IDPH at a time that should be full of reverence and black dress. The inability for Iowa’s government to list same-sex spouses as parents is appalling considering homosexual marriage has been legal since 2009. Our government has the responsibility to protect and serve all its people, not to pick at which gender is listed for the parents of a newly delivered child.

Additionally, Des Moines couple Melissa and Heather Gartner were denied a birth certificate by the IDPH that listed both spouses as parents to two-year-old MacKenzie. The Polk County District Court ruled in favor of the Gartners, but they will not be receiving the birth certificate yet due to a repercussion. The IDPH is appealing the judge’s rule. It is incomprehensible to even entertain the idea that spousal presumption legitimacy could be any different for married same-sex couples than heterosexual couples. Although Judge
Eliza Ovrom declared that birth certificates must be interpreted gender neutrally, the IDPH’s incapacity to follow out such orders is evident by the appeal.

Gay couples’ deserve the same protection of rights that heterosexual couples have. In the black curtain of such horrific times as losing a premature child or in the light happiness and relief that only new life can bring, same sex couples do not deserve to be judged on a level any different than their heterosexual neighbors. The court proceedings illuminate a real problem in our society and government that is often neglected as a result of ignorance and intolerance, but the excuses are running out. It is in no way justified that the IDPH can deny its citizens accurate birth or death certificates based on sexual orientation.

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