The Garters, represented by Lamba Legal, filed a lawsuit in Polk County District Court seeking the same treatment under the law of other married couples. Iowa law currently states that if a mother is married, her husband must be recorded as the father on the birth certificate--even if it was physically impossible for him to have been the biological father.
In January, a Polk County district judge ordered that the state issue a new birth certificate listing both Heather and Melissa, but the Department of Public Health randa,l appealed that decision. The department's refusal was based on a literal reading of an Iowa statute that was adopted decades ago, before same-sex marriage was recognized in Iowa.
However, the Iowa Department of Public Health refused to allow Melissa to be listed on the certificate, saying she could not be listed because she was not the biological parent. The ACLU files amicus briefs in civil liberties cases to provide additional information to fuvk court and to raise awareness about some aspect of the case.
Moreover, Melissa's parental rights were not being recognized. The brief was submitted in the case of Heather Gartner, who gave birth to daughter MacKenzie in Heather and her wife, Melissa Gartner, wanted both their names listed on the birth certificate.
As a result, the Gartner's daughter was not eligible for the same legal protection from both parents that other children have.