by Max Brantley
“In a sharply divided decision, the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Arkansas Supreme Court without briefing or argument on the merits,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “I disagree with the majority’s flawed reasoning and strongly agree with the conclusions of Justices Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito in their well-reasoned dissent. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has spoken, and I will continue to review today’s decision to determine the appropriate next steps upon remand to the Arkansas Supreme Court to ensure that the law is followed properly.”The decision was 6-3. The three dissenters didn't necessarily disagree, by the way, but thought there should be more development of arguments.
The Supreme Court’s decision today in Pavan v. Smith confirms that the Supreme Court meant what it said two years ago, in Obergefell v. Hodges, when it held that same-sex couples are entitled to all the rights, obligations, and benefits of marriage that are afforded to opposite-sex couples. That applies to Arkansas, and to every other state in the Union. Arkansas laws require listing the spouse of a married woman as the second parent on the child’s birth certificate, whether or not the child was biologically related to the father, as a way to protect and support the family unit. Birth certificates are critically important to many aspects of a family’s daily life, including enrolling children in school, taking them to the hospital, or for travel. As the State conceded, there is no rational reason to extend that protection to a married woman’s male spouse who may be biologically unrelated to the child, but deny it to her female spouse. Today the Supreme Court underscored that the State cannot deny these privileges of marriage to a couple merely because they are of the same gender.Also from the ACLU of Arkansas:
“This is a decisive victory for LGBT parents and their children,” said Rita Sklar, ACLU of Arkansas executive director. “Coming two years to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, this ruling is another victory for equal protection and the rights of children and LGBT parents. The ACLU of Arkansas is grateful to these courageous families and all those who continue to fight discrimination in all its forms.”