A new baby pulled New York couple into Ohio same-sex marriage lawsuit

Joseph Vitale, right with Rob Talmas, left, holding their adopted son Cooper in New York City.
Joseph Vitale, right with Rob Talmas, left, holding their adopted son Cooper in New York City. Courtesy Joseph Vitale (AP)

This article is one in a series showcasing the families who are plaintiffs in the marriage equality cases that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 28. Read more here.

CINCINNATI — Married and living in New York City, Joseph Vitale and Robert Talmas joined the legal battle over Ohio’s same-sex marriage law because that’s where their adopted son was born. Both fathers want to be listed on Cooper’s birth certificate.

A couple since 1997, Vitale and Talmas married in New York in 2011. Both are from large families, and they wanted to have their own.

In 2013 they adopted a newborn, known in court documents as “Adopted Child Doe.” They slept in his hospital room in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield until he was discharged, took him home to New York, and received a final adoption decree from a New York court on Jan. 17, 2014.

That order lists them both as parents. But Ohio wanted only one of their names on an amended birth certificate.

They became part of the legal challenge to Ohio’s ban on same-sex marriage, which doesn’t recognize out-of-state gay marriages for birth or death certificates.

Article continues below

“How could we choose which parent should be listed on the birth certificate?” Vitale asked then, in a statement through his lawyers. “What message does that give our son?”

They later obtained a federal court order to have both listed, but the certificate notes that it is by court order.

Vitale said they are concerned that if the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last year upholding Ohio’s same-sex marriage ban is allowed to stand, the state could amend Cooper’s birth certificate to remove one of their names.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

After four decades in secret, Kentucky couple fights for the next generation

Previous article

Adoption struggle leads couple into same-sex marriage fight

Next article