New birth certificate finally arrives for same sex couple

After seven months of fighting and then waiting, Mirek Krikorian finally has a birth certificate with both his parents' names on it.

After seven months of fighting and then waiting, Mirek Krikorian finally has a birth certificate with both his parents’ names on it.

When Mirek was born, his moms, Cai Krikorian and Corinne Gurtler, were told Gurtler couldn’t get her name on the document unless she formally adopted her own son.

The family called that discrimination and went public with their complaint about the territory’s Vital Statistics Act.

On Friday, they got a call from the registrar saying the completed birth certificate – with both names – was ready to go.

“We’re ecstatic. I mean, it took forever, but when she finally called it was like, ‘OK, good,’” Gurtler said yesterday.

The Yukon Vital Statistics Act, as it was originally written, didn’t allow for same-sex couples to be listed as parents, even if they were legally married, unless one half of the couple went through the adoption process.

The same is not true for heterosexual couples in cases where one parent is not biologically related to the child.

When the family first went public, Yukon legislators moved quickly to remove the discriminatory language from the law.

In May every MLA in the legislature voted in favour of making all the required changes.

The new law does away with the adoption requirement and allows for up to four people to be included on a birth certificate.

But even after the change, the family still had to wait months to get the document.

The Department of Health and Social Services said the new birth certificates couldn’t be handed out until the amendments were proclaimed by Yukon’s commissioner. And that couldn’t happen until all the new documents were created and other bureaucratic details were resolved.

Updating the act was more complicated than just rewriting a birth certificate, the department said at the time. A total of 26 forms, including for birth certificates, death certificates and applications for name change, had to be updated.

Now that the document has finally arrived, the parents can move forward with other important life decisions.

“Now it’s time for a social insurance number and getting an RESP set up, and applying for a new passport,” Gurtler said.

Gurtler said the family is still moving forward with their human rights complaint even though Mirek’s birth certificate has been completed.

The Vital Statistics Act has been updated, but Department of Justice lawyers are going through the rest of the territory’s legislation to see what other laws will need language changes to reflect same-sex couples.

Gurtler said it’s important that the human rights complaint moves forward so that the government is motivated to keep making changes.

“We want to make sure that they continue forward with the other ones,” she said. “I can’t imagine they’re going to get a judgment (on the human rights complaint) other than ‘you’re wrong.’ If they don’t feel a little bit of pain, they might just leave it, and we don’t want them to.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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