Friday, July 22, 2005

Birth Certificate Strike Out 

Governor Romney, who has not been shy about his disdain for marriage equality or same sex parents, is angering town and city clerks again by advising hospitals to manually alter birth certificates issued to lesbian couples when one of them has given birth. The clerks have been receiving birth certificates from hospitals with the word "Father" crossed off, whited-out or highlighted with an asterisk, and replaced with the phrase "Second Parent."

You may be thinking, "Hey, what's wrong with that?" Marriage licenses have been changed now to say Party A and Party B, isn't this just an extension of equality?

The problem is that the official marriage license forms were changed at the printer. Nothing is struck out or altered. This change was done after Goodridge, with no specific legislation ordering that it be done. Romney now claims that he cannot order a change in the official birth certificate form without specific legislation ordering that it be done. This is a similar argument to the one he made in support of his pulling out the 1913 law barring couples from marrying in Massachusetts if their marriage would not be recognized in their home state.

With the birth certificates having been altered from their issued format, their legitimacy can be called into question by anyone to whom the recorded certificate is presented as identification or proof of parentage. By telling hospitals to alter the official birth certificate forms, the governor has both undermined the legal standing of legally recognized same sex parents and strengthened his own standing should anyone question his conservative values in any expected future presidential campaign. This is the same man who not so long ago vehemently called for John Kerry to resign his US Senate position because he was campaigning in a presidential race. He stated that Sen. Kerry could not adequately fulfill his obligations to his Massachusetts constituents while simultaneously courting a national audience.

Perhaps the governor should heed his own words instead of causing harm to the states' citizens in an effort to build his own political reputation.


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