North Carolina finally amends family's birth certificates

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A married couple in North Carolina will finally get birth certificates listing both of them as parents of their two sons, more than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that everyone has a fundamental right to the legal recognition marriage provides to families and children.

Lambda Legal says Melissa and Meredith Weiss secured court orders recognizing them both as parents of their boys in October 2014, but the state Department of Health and Human Services refused to amend their birth certificate accordingly.

They sued in December 2015, nearly six months after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage rights nationwide.

Lambda Legal announced Tuesday that the state has settled the case, agreeing to add both parents' names to their boys' documents.

After several years together, Melissa and Meredith Weiss traveled to Canada and were married in August 2003. North Carolina refused to recognize their marriage, and when the Weisses had their sons in 2006 and 2008, the state DHHS refused to issue a birth certificate listing both parents' names.

On Oct. 14, 2014, four days after a federal court acknowledged same-sex marriage ushered marriage equality in North Carolina, Melissa and Meredith requested new birth certificates listing themselves as the boys' parents, providing DHHS with court orders and proof of their 2003 marriage. DHHS didn't respond for more than a year, after which Lambda Legal sued.

"We are both thrilled and relieved," the Weisses said in a statement. "We just want our children to have the same respect, protections and treatment that every other child born to married parents receives. Today, our family and other families like ours can move forward."

DHHS spokeswoman Kendra Gerlach said in a statement that the department has been reviewing and updating its process for birth certificates to reflect the changing definition of families.

"This change allows parents who are married at the time of conception or the birth of a child to have a birth certificate that reflects their unique circumstances and includes both parents' names," Gerlach said in the statement.

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