Tell Iowa Health Department: Stop erasing same-sex parents
  • Petitioned Marianette Miller-Meeks

This petition was delivered to:

Director, Iowa Department of Public Health
Marianette Miller-Meeks

Tell Iowa Health Department: Stop erasing same-sex parents

    1. Sponsored by

      Lambda Legal

“After the loss of our son, Jenny and I were just trying to process our grief and get through it together,” said Jessica Buntemeyer. “To erase Jenny’s name from the death certificate was like trying to erase all the love, commitment, and work we had both put into planning a family. We were in complete shock.”

Jenny Buntemeyer and Jessica Aiken met in 2008 and fell in love while serving in Iraq. They married in Iowa on October 8, 2010 and remain in the Army Reserve. After planning a family together, Jessica became pregnant via in vitro fertilization and an anonymous donor.

On October 21, 2011, Jessica gave birth in Iowa to Brayden Bruce Buntemeyer, at 30 weeks’ gestation. He died in utero prior to labor after his umbilical cord became wound around his neck. On the fetal death certificate form, Jessica filled out the boxes for “mother” and Jenny filled out the boxes marked “father,” the only option on the form for a second parent. On January 12, 2012, Iowa Department of Public Health issued them a death certificate on which someone had erased Jenny’s name and identifying information.

A week earlier, in a different Lambda Legal case, a trial court affirmed that the spousal presumption of “legitimacy” applies equally to children born to married same-sex couples and ruled that Iowa’s birth certificate statute must be interpreted in a gender-neutral way. The court ordered IDPH to issue a birth certificate listing both same-sex spouses as parents. IDPH recently appealed that ruling.

Don't let the Iowa Department of Public Health erase Jenny Buntemeyer from Brayden’s death certificate just because he had two moms. Join Lambda Legal and One Iowa's petition.

Recent signatures


    1. Reached 7,000 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • corina taute ST CLOUD, MN
      • almost 2 years ago

      A parent earns their right to be a parent not by their sex, but by their commitment and love for the child. Do you erase adoptive parents' signatures off their birth certificates?

    • Jennifer Ritter WINTHROP, MA
      • about 2 years ago

      Having experienced pregnancy loss myself, I can relate to what this couple is going through, but I can only imagine how much more difficult it is for them having to deal with the additional stress of this kind of unjustifiable, wrong-headed, and mean-spirited state-imposed discrimination.

    • Jennifer Dyer MARION, IA
      • about 2 years ago

      Because love is love and the other parent had a right to be acknowledged on that document

    • Glenda Meister CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
      • about 2 years ago

      Love cannot be defined or judged unless it's by God himself.

    • Sherry Saunders FT. WORTH, TX
      • about 2 years ago

      i do not understand the petty vindictive need some people feel to hurt people who are different from themselves. lighten up - it's not your life!


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