Legal battle beginning over Utah same sex couples right to adopt

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Right now is a rough time for gay couples to adopt a child in the State of Utah. Although some couples may have completed the adoption process, the State wants to put those adoptions on hold.

There are two opposing forces at play right now when it comes to adoptions and same sex couples in Utah. One on hand, you've got parents trying to legally change the birth certificates of their adopted children, and on the other the State of Utah is refusing to issue those birth certificates. It's a legal battle that started playing out Wednesday with the Utah Supreme Court.

Same sex couples looking to adopt children in Utah are running into a last minute problem.

"The Attorney General instructed the Office of Vital Records to not issue the birth certificate," said CIifford Rosky, Board Chair of Equality Utah.

Clifford Rosky with Equality Utah said a lesbian couple who got married in Utah and had completed the adoption process, on Wednesday they tried to get a new birth certificate for their daughter, but they were told no.

"The Attorney General is saying you’re not really the parent of this child, you're not a real family that's entitled to equal protection under the law," said Rosky.

David Patten with the Utah Department of Health said even though the couple had a court order, the Department can't issue a new certificate until the same sex marriage situation in Utah is resolved.

"We acknowledge that and respect the judge’s views on that but we will appeal that order," said David Patten, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health.

To ensure no new certificates are issued in the waiting period, the Utah Attorney General's Office is asking the Utah Supreme Court that the Department of Health receive emergency relief from court orders granting adoption rights to same sex couples.

"The Department finds itself in an untenable position. It cannot comply with the court order without violating state constitutional and statutory law..." said the State in its request.

Regardless of the reason, Rosky says it’s the wrong thing to do.

"It's really extraordinary that the Utah Attorney General told a state official to disobey a court order issued by a Utah judge," Rosky said.

All this means, if same sex couples in Utah have adopted children in the last few months and want to change the child's birth certificate, the State is legally seeking to prevent that from happening until the larger case involving the gay marriage in Utah is completed. Those adoptions are something the Utah Supreme Court will need to decide on.

Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @briancarlsontv

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