Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

'Mother' and 'Father' to Remain on Passport Forms After Clinton Intervenes

3 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size

From controversy to compromise. After announcing that on children's passport applications, "mother" and "father" would in the future be referred to as "parent 1" and "parent 2," the State Department Saturday changed course and retain the titles "mother" and "father," while also adding the term "parent."

The agency said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ordered that "mother" and "father" remain on passport forms and paperwork that documents the birth of a child to Americans overseas. Nicole Thompson, State Department spokesperson, told PoliticsDaily the forms will now ask for the names of the child's "mother or parent" and "father or parent," or possibly "mother or parent 1" and "father or parent 2."

"With Secretary Clinton's input, the State Department decided to revise those . . . forms to retain the previous designation in addition to the word 'parent,'" said Thompson.

The short-lived change to only gender-neutral terms, announced in December and reported late last week, was hailed by gay-rights proponents and assailed by some conservatives. Some speculated that Clinton reversed that decision to avoid a backlash from congressional Republicans. A statement last week on the agency's website said dropping "mother" and "father" were "improvements" being made to provide a more accurate description "of a child's parents and in recognition of different types of families."

Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary of State for Passport Services, told Fox News on Friday that the gender-neutral terms would reflect the realities of the modern world.

"We find that with changes in medical science and reproductive technology that we are confronting situations now that we would not have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago," Sprague said.

Christian conservative organizations were quick to slam the the movement away from "mother" and "father."

"Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an 'improvement' for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth," Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement.

Perkins said the gender neutral terms were "designed to advance the causes of same-sex 'marriage' and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)."

Under the 1996 federal law, marriage is legally defined as a union between one man and one woman.

Gay-rights supporters hailed the move toward gender neutral terminology.

"Changing the term 'mother' and 'father' to the more global term of 'parent' allows many different types of families to be able to go and apply for a passport for their child without feeling like the government doesn't recognize their family," Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council, told Fox News.

Perkins and Chrisler did not immediately comment on the State Department's compromise.

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Follow Politics Daily

  • Comics
Featuring political comics by Robert and Donna TrussellMore>>
  • Woman UP Video
politics daily videos
Weekly Videos
Woman Up, Politics Daily's Online Sunday ShowMore»
politics daily videos
TV Appearances
Showcasing appearances by Politics Daily staff and contributors.More>>