Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

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

4 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.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

I may not be keeping up with all of the advances, but I don't believe that we are yet dealing with cloning or same sex fertilization / embryonic implantation yet when it comes to humans... What if we changed the passport application to male donor and female donor to designate biological origination instead of parent or custodians?

January 11 2011 at 1:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How shallow of them to cave to conservatives. The State Department should just go with sperm doner and egg doner. Or perhaps Caregiver 1 and Caregiver 2. Better yet, Federal Deparment Financially Responsible 1 and Federal Department Financially Responsible 2 to save time on further government forms.

January 11 2011 at 2:04 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jacarda's comment

Why not just leave it the way it was, save millions in shredding documents and the wasted printing of new ones? The left seems hellbent on finding ways to unnecessarily waste money on taxpayer backs (and they continue to succeed), as America struggles to find jobs and keep food on the table.

January 11 2011 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

IF it is to get a passport for a child born overseas, then why would it be to same sex parents? As far as I know,men don't give birth yet. Yes, I know a so-called man gave birth to a couple of kids, but the "man" has female reproductive organs. I do not care much for Hillary but she did the right thing this time.

January 10 2011 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

I don't like a lot of our liberal politicians but I don't want them to be murdered. And that guy in AZ ought to be put away for life. We pray Congresswoman Gifford will survive and be able to live a nice productive life soon.

January 10 2011 at 9:13 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

How many millions will this politically correct nonsense cost voters to begin with in making the changes here in America? This unnecessary bureaucratic nonsense plays no small part in our nation's debt.

January 10 2011 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

This was a simple fix that made sense. Secretary of State Clinton seems to be the only one on both sides of the issue with some common sense.

January 10 2011 at 6:56 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

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>>