While it feels really great for a birth mother’s wife to be listed on a Texas birth certificate, the Wren case (Beaumont court of Appeals, 2017) clearly shows why lesbian couples cannot rely on a birth certificate alone to establish parentage for the second mother.
Two women, CW and AE, were married in Connecticut in 2011. They separated before CW gave birth in 2014. CW did not adopt the child. When CW filed for legal parental rights, as part of a divorce proceeding, the court found, “CW lacks standing to bring and maintain a parentage claim over the child in this case.”
Regarding the parental presumption which the Texas Vital Statistics Unit relies on when two moms are listed on a birth certificate, the court said:
“The presumption of paternity under section 160.201(b)(1) of the Texas Family Code applies to a father-child relationship between a man and a child.”
“The presumption of paternity under section 160.201(b)(1) of the Texas Family Code does not apply in this case because CW is not a man.”
The Wren case makes it clear that the issue of whether a birth mother’s wife is a legal parent is still unsettled law. The safest way to establish parental rights is through a second-parent adoption, which will be honored in all 50 states.
To read the full opinion, click the following link: Wren-Nys COA Opinion (4-27-17)