A California man is suing the state over a requirement that people can’t ask their children’s birth certificates to see them at the courthouse.
The man, who is now a U.S. citizen, says he was shocked to learn that the state had required him to prove he is over 21 to see his child’s document.
In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in California’s federal court, which is being watched closely by the American Civil Liberties Union, the man argues that the requirement violates his First Amendment rights and that it violates California’s constitutional guarantee of due process.
“The State’s birth registration requirement violates the constitutional rights of Plaintiff and the other Plaintiff Plaintiffs,” reads the lawsuit.
“This requirement is contrary to the purpose of the birth registration statute, which was to protect Plaintiff and his family, particularly his wife, who has been living in the United States illegally for many years and is now seeking permanent residency.”
The lawsuit, which also names the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles and California Secretary of State, seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting the state from enforcing the requirement.
The California DMV said in a statement that it “continues to work with the courts to protect the privacy of individuals in California.”
The California Department of Public Health and Human Services said that it has “no plans” to issue a birth certificate for a child who is a citizen or permanent resident and that they would be reviewing the case.
The Department of Homeland Security said in the same statement that they are “currently reviewing this matter.”
The birth certificate is the first document a person needs to obtain to prove their citizenship or residency.
“If the Department of Health and Social Services determines that the State’s mandate does not infringe on Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, the Department will have no further comment,” DHS said in its statement.
The ACLU filed a similar lawsuit in California against the state of Arizona over the same issue in March, which the state has not yet responded to.