In February of this year, an Iowa same-sex couple filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Public Health after Jenny, the non-gestational mother's name from the death certificate of the couple's stillborn son, Brayden. By state law in Iowa, a married couple is named on a birth or death certificate, regardless of biological parenthood. But after the tragic death of Jenny and Jessica Buntemeyer's son in 2011, their grief was made even sharper by the blatant removal of Jenny's name from the death certificate which arrived at their home in January of this year.
As any grieving parent knows, the last thing you need when you've just experienced such a devastating loss is complications and judgement. With so little to remember a stillborn baby by, something concrete, like a death certificate can take on extra significance. A document tying a child to his parents.
For same sex couples, there are already tremendous challenges to becoming parents, both biological and social. It can be difficult to families to find social support with healthy, full-term children, much less with pregnancy loss. Imagine the frustration and anger a mother must feel being told she does not have any claim to her child.
Lambda Legal has started a petition asking the Iowa Department of Public Health to restore Jenny Buntemeyer's name to her son's death certificate. If you wish to sign it, follow this link.
For More Information about Grief for Same Sex Couples, see here:
Same Sex Couples and Pregnancy Loss
Pregnancy Loss from the Perspective of Lesbian and Bisexual Moms