Monday, December 13, 2010

HB 415 - Accurate Birth Certificates

HB 415 - By Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) would allow the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) to issue birth certificates which accurately reflect the parents of a child. BVS routinely issues new birth certificates for adopted children which list the adopted parents. Currently under Health and Safety Code Section 192.008(a) BVS is prohibited from listing two men or two women as parents of an adopted child even if they are both the legal parent of the child.

Beyond issues of simple fairness this creates a barrier when parents attempt to enroll their child in school, obtain a visa, access medical records or perform any of the routine day to day task that require parents to legally establish their relationship with their child.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana found in Adar, et al v. Smith that denying parents the right to both be listed as parents in an adoption from another state violates the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately that precedent does not extend to Texas couples who adopt children in Texas.

Anchia filed this legislation last session (81st HB 2080), it received a hearing but was never voted out of the House Public Health Committee.

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