Former state registrar had no ‘personal decision’ in same-gender law
3/16/2023, 6 p.m.
I am writing to address what I consider an inaccurate representation of my making a personal decision to deny same-gender parents’ names on a birth certificate. This representation, announcing the retirement of Janet Rainey, was in an article in the Richmond Free Press, March 9-11, 2023, edition.
When the request was made to place both adoptive parents on the birth certificate, Virginia law only allowed a mother and father to be listed. The law did not enable same-gender parents to be listed on the birth certificate. As the state registrar, the law required me to file vital records within statutory requirements. Ms. Rainey, state registrar at the time of the Virginia Supreme Court decision (Davenport et al. v. Little Bowser et al.), was allowed to record same-gender parents on a birth certificate once it became state law, removing the restriction of not listing same-gender parents on a birth certificate.
I am requesting that this misrepresentation be corrected in a follow-up article. The history of the vital records system can be out of sync with societal changes and may require legal actions to change.
Deborah Little Bowser
Editor’s note: It was not the intention of the Richmond Free Press to characterize the actions that led to the Davenport et al. v. Little Bowser et al. Virginia Supreme Court case as being made solely by Mrs. Little Bowser or at her personal discretion. We regret any confusion the article may have caused.