By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Arizona began recognizing same gender marriages (as an outcome of a recent federal court case). The court decision will influence some of the things that we do in our Vital Records shop – mostly as we process of death certificates. Arizona law specifies the people that can get a certified copy of a death certificate. One of those categories is the decedents’ spouse. Now that Arizona recognizes the marriage of people of the same gender, we’ve begun processing death certificates of all marriages – whether the people are the same gender or not.
We don’t expect to make major changes for the issuance of birth certificates, but we’re still looking into the nuances of the maternity and paternity statutes to determine how to register a birth when a birth mother has a same gender spouse and wants to name her spouse on the birth certificate as the other parent.
Our Vital Records shop also records adoptions…and this area may be affected by the ruling – but we’re not 100% sure yet. Arizona law doesn’t prohibit people of the same gender from adopting children, but state law gives preference to a married man and woman over others. We still don’t know if those criteria in law will eventually be affected. Since our team simply registers adoptions approved by the courts (ours is more of an administrative function), we’ll simply continue to record adoptions as they arrive.