+
upworthy
Democracy

Lesbian moms are suing Nebraska for refusing to list them on their children's birth certificates

Nebraska ACLU lesbian

Erin Porterfield, Kristin Williams and family.

Erin Porterfield and Kristin Williams are fighting to have themselves named as the legal parents of their two children after the state of Nebraska has repeatedly refused.

The couple broke up in 2013 after both gave birth to one child while they were together. Porterfield gave birth to their first son, Kadin, 19 years ago. Three years later, Williams gave birth to their second child, Cameron.

Same-sex couples couldn't legally marry in Nebraska when the children were born so both of them only had their biological mothers listed on their birth certificates. After repeated attempts to add an additional parent to their certificates, the state has refused unless they get married.


Currently, each parent has been granted temporary in loco parentis (or "in place of parent") rights over the other's biological child, but they do not have full parental rights.

Williams and Porterfield filed a lawsuit against the state of Nebraska on Monday claiming that the state's decision violated their constitutional rights by discriminating against them for being women.

Their case seems pretty clear-cut.

"If you had a man and a woman in this exact same scenario, not together anymore, never married, do not want to get married, so we don't have adoption available to them, all the man needs to do is go and sign an acknowledgment of paternity and he gets put onto the birth certificate and it is a legal order then that he is a parent," Angela Dunne, a managing partner at the plaintiffs' legal firm, told WOWT. "Erin and Kristin can't do that because they're women."

"We were never able to marry because by the time the supreme court had awarded that right to gay people, we had split as a couple," Williams said. "We continued to care for both of our children as any couple would with shared custody."

The lawsuit also petitions the state to allow anyone, regardless of gender, to be able to provide voluntary acknowledgment of paternity rights.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says that the parents' request falls outside of the power granted to the state's executive branch. The DHHS said in a letter that "at this time, the only routes to legal parentage under Nebraska law are through marital presumption, adoption, or biological relationship."

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The state's governor, Republican Pete Ricketts agrees with the DHHS. However, he misstated the facts of the case in a statement to KETV.

"The couple had the opportunity to get married and chose not to," Rickets incorrectly told KETV. "So, we looked at how Nebraska law reads and we applied Nebraska law."

No, the couple didn't have the chance to get married because they broke up two years before it was legal in Nebraska.

It's ridiculous that the state's governor is pushing back against the couple's request because it's legal for same-sex couples to get married and adopt in Nebraska. It's also legal for a man to put his name on the birth certificate of a child, regardless of his relationship to the other parent.

All Williams and Porterfield want is the security of knowing their children are cared for in case of an emergency and that they have the rights of inheritance that any children of a straight couple would enjoy.

But unfortunately, they are forced to fight a battle that should have been settled long ago.

"Our sons are our entire world and we want to make sure we're doing right by them," Porterfield said in a statement released by the ACLU. "Our boys have a right to the security of having both parents on their birth certificates, a required document in so many life changes and decisions. That's why this matters to us. It's about looking out for our sons."

Image from YouTube video.

An emotional and strong Matt Diaz.


Matt Diaz has worked extremely hard to lose 270 pounds over the past six years.

But his proudest moment came in March 2015 when he decided to film himself with his shirt off to prove an important point about body positivity and self-love.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

The simple 'Dorito theory' is a thoughtful way to break our addictive, unfulfilling habits

"Things that aren't actually satisfying are those that are maximally addictive."

via Celeste Aria, used with permission and Hugo Martins/Flickr

Celeste Aria explains her "Dorito theory"

Philosopher Eric Hoffer once said, “You can’t get enough of what you truly don’t need to make you happy.” His point is that we can have enough of the things that truly satisfy us, such as a healthy relationship, necessary material possessions, or nutritious food.

However, the things that can’t satisfy us, such as junk food, toxic relationships, or status symbols, will always leave us feeling hollow, no matter how much we indulge.

This idea has popped back into public consciousness, although with a slight twist by TikTokker Celeste Aria, who refers to her version of the idea as the “Dorito theory.” “One thing I can’t stop thinking about is called the Dorito theory,” she said in a post with over 1 million views. “I learned about this, and now I see everything a little bit differently.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Why awkwardness is such a real thing for people everywhere and one big key to overcoming it

This is super helpful info for people who struggle with social anxiety.

In our brains, awkwardness can feel as painful as being bullied.

Some people fear heights or small spaces, some fear spiders or snakes, and some fear illness or death. When taken to an extreme, such fears can form of an anxiety disorder, but they are understandable fears to have because any one of those things could theoretically spell our demise.

But what about fearing something that isn't physically dangerous at all, but rather psychologically uncomfortable, like…awkwardness?

For people with social anxiety, the fear of awkwardness is as real as the fear of death. "I'd rather cross a glass bridge over a 1,000-foot canyon than introduce myself to someone new" is a totally normal thought for a socially anxious person. The silences and pauses that mark most social interactions are magnified to painful degrees and the feelings of self-consciousness most of us experience in those moments are felt in extremes in the mind of a socially anxious person.

No one likes feeling awkward, of course, but why is it even a thing in the first place? What makes some interactions feel so uncomfortable to our brains? And more importantly, how do we overcome the fear of awkwardness, especially those who find themselves completely paralyzed by it?

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

A new viral R&B version of Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' is such a beautiful mood setter

It's like a completely new, equally good version of the all-time classic.

Representative Image from Canva, Dolly Parton/Youtube

Brb, listening to this 100x on repeat

As Rolling Stone announced that Beyoncé just became the first Black woman artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, let’s keep the celebration of Black women busting through barriers in the genre going, why not?

Singer/songwriter and producer NYA, aka @nya.w0rld on TikTok, has given her followers all kinds of R&B versions of well known songs from artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Avril Lavine. She’s even R&B-ified theme songs from popular television shows like “Friends.”

But it’s her recent R&B ballad of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” that’s so good, people are hoping it finds its way to the Queen of Country herself.

Keep ReadingShow less

An influencer and a baby.

There is an arms race amongst parents these days to choose the most original name for their children possible. While it’s important to instill individuality into a child, studies show that people given unusual names at birth are more likely to suffer setbacks in their social and professional lives.

It can even make it harder for them to find a date.

Knowing that his daughter was setting her child up for a hard life by giving him a very unusual name, a dad staged an intervention—in person and online—to get her to realize what she was doing.

The father, known as MulledMarmite on Reddit, shared his dramatic story on the AITAH forum. He says this daughter’s interest in selecting such an unusual name comes from influencer culture.

Keep ReadingShow less