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Virginia lesbian parents win birth certificate case

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia lesbian couple has won a legal fight to have both of their names listed on their twins’ birth certificates.

Richmond Designate Judge T.J. Markow recently ordered the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Vital Records to amend the birth certificates to show that Maria Hayman and her wife, Joanie Hayman, are the “only parents of the children,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Maria Hayman delivered the twins, Merida and Finn, in June 2013. Joanie Hayman contributed the eggs after they were fertilized with sperm from a donor who revoked his parental life.

Under the Virginia Code, egg donors don’t have parental rights so Joanie Hayman’s name couldn’t be listed on the twins’ birth certificates. That meant she could not make any medical decisions for the children or sign them in at the doctor’s office.

The couple said they challenged the law because legal recognition of their family was important to them.

“This is best for our family, so we’re going to try. I thought it would be longer,” Maria Hayman told the newspaper. “Even if you’re with your partner and your children and you’re a family, it matters. But it’s on paper when the world recognizes you as a family.”

Colleen Quinn, the couple’s lawyer, utilized several arguments, including a 2005 case involving three same-sex couples who adopted children born in Virginia but had out-of-state adoption orders listing both as parents. The Supreme Court of Virginia rejected the argument that “adoptive parents” had to list mother and father on the birth certificate because no law defined adoptive parents as a man and woman.

Quinn also argued that the standard to prove paternity under the Virginia Code should be applied to prove maternity.

“If a man can contribute his sperm and not carry the child and be deemed a legal parent, then a woman can contribute her eggs and be deemed a legal parent,” Quinn told the newspaper.

She also noted Virginia’s recent recognition of gay marriage.

Joanie Hayman said having her “own genetic children” was important to her because her father died before she had any children.

“I wanted to have a piece of my dad in my kids,” she told the newspaper.

While Virginia’s laws have change, Joani Hayman said she looks forward to the day when there is no discrimination outside the courtroom.

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