Same-sex couples who had children before marriage equality was the law of the land filed suit in state court in July 2015 in order to amend their children’s birth certificates to include the names of both parents without having to procure a court order, as the state required, although non-biological fathers in opposite-sex marriages are added to Arkansas birth certificates upon request and without a court order. After a lower court ruled that the Department of Health’s refusal to amend the birth certificates violated the couples’ rights to equal protection, the state appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which overturned the ruling.

On June 26, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the prior ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court and affirmed the rights of same-sex parents to amend their children's birth certificates to include the names of both parents on the same terms as opposite-sex parents. 

Note: It should be noted that the ruling does not determine legal parentage rights and deals strictly with the issue of birth certificates, however; same-sex couples with questions or concerns about birth certificate issuance or legal parentage should contact an experienced family law attorney or the ACLU.

Date filed

July 13, 2015


Arkansas Supreme Court


Honorable Timothy Davis Fox



Case number

No. CV-15-988