State Department to leave `mother' and `father' on documents

January 10, 2011

WASHINGTON (RNS) Facing a backlash from conservative groups,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered changes to a proposal to
remove the terms "mother" and "father" from records of overseas births.

"With Secretary Clinton's input, we will be revising the form to
retain the existing designation of mother and father, in addition to the
designation of parent," said Rosemary Macray, a spokeswoman for the
department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The department had announced plans on Dec. 22 to change the Consular
Report of Birth Abroad to "use the title of `parent' as opposed to
`mother' and `father."'

"These improvements are being made to provide a gender-neutral
description of a child's parents and in recognition of different types
of families," it said at the time.

But after conservative Christian groups criticized the proposed
change on Friday (Jan. 7), Clinton issued new directives on Saturday.

"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," said
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council in a Friday

Macray said the specific language, which was still being revised,
would be included in the overseas birth records as well as applications
for passports for children and first-time adult applicants.