JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa - Friday's Iowa Supreme Court decision to recognize both lesbian parents on state birth certificates had special meaning for one Johnson County couple.
Had the law changed years ago, Gina Glass and Martha Wilson might have saved about $10,000 in legal expenses and a lot of headaches. That's probably what it cost when one partner had to legally adopt four children she already considered a part of her own family.
Glass and Wilson became same sex partners more than 20 years ago. They got legally married in Iowa in 2009 shortly after it became legal for same sex couples. By that time, their family included four children ranging in ages now from 9 to 14.
As the birth mother, Wilson was always listed on the birth certificate. But Glass had to jump through legal hoops to prove herself a worthy parent and be recognized as a parent in the eyes of the law.
"To want to have kids, to raise kidshave them for 14 years. Then to have to prove my willingness, desire and ability to be a parent when we planned the births and parenthood from the beginning was upsetting," Glass said.
Her spouse, Wilson, added "it was a bunch of unnecessary bureaucracy. Gina was there from the beginning."
Wilson got pregnant each time through artificial insemination like the couple that filed the court case in Des Moines. And each time, the legal process to unite Glass with her partner's children was the same. There were home visits from social workers, providing copies of tax returns, trips to juvenile court and, of course, lots of legal bills. Each time it took about six months before Glass was declared related to the children by virtue of adoption.
Glass said the court ruling won't help them now. But Wilson said they are certainly thrilled for others.
"I thought about a couple I know who are legally married and they're pregnant right now. And how different it will be for them. This is their second child. The first child, it was my adoption process (for the non-birth mother). Now the minute that child is born they're both legally parents and I think that is so cool," Wilson said.