Gartner v. Iowa Dep't of Pub. HealthAnnotate this Case
Melissa and Heather Gartner were a married lesbian couple. Heather conceived a child using an anonymous sperm donor. The child was born during the spouses' marriage. The Gartners requested a birth certificate recognizing both Heather and Melissa as the child's parents. The Department of Public Health refused to place the name of the nonbirthing spouse in a lesbian marriage on the birth certificate without the spouse first adopting the child. The district court ordered the Department to issue the Gartners a birth certificate listing both spouses as parents but did not require the Department to extend the same practice to other married lesbian couples. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) Iowa Code 144.13(2), Iowa's presumption of parentage statute, violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution because it allows for only "the name of the husband" to appear on the birth certificate; and (2) accordingly, the Department must presumptively list on a child's birth certificate the nonbirthing spouse in a lesbian marriage when the child was born to one of the spouses during their marriage.