Bill would codify `mother' and `father' on documents

February 16, 2011

WASHINGTON (RNS) A proposed House bill will require the use of "mother"
and "father" by all federal agencies and contractors when describing
parents, pushing back on a move by the State Department to use "parent"

The Parental Title Protection Act of 2011, sponsored by Rep. Randy
Forbes, R-Va., would mandate the use of these words instead of the terms
"Parent 1" and "Parent 2."

"These subtle, but nonetheless significant, changes undermine the
traditional American family relationships that have served as the
bedrock of our nation since its inception," Forbes said in a statement.

Forbes introduced the bill just weeks after the State Department
tried to remove the terms "mother" and "father" from records of oversea
births. The use of "Parent 1" and "Parent 2" was intended to "provide a
gender-neutral description of a child's parents and in recognition of
different types of families," the department said at the time.

After criticism from religious and conservative groups, led in part
by the Family Research Council, the Department of State backpedaled
slightly and agreed to use the terms "Mother or Parent 1" and "Father or
Parent 2."

Forbes, a long-time Sunday school teacher and member at Great Bridge
Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va., has been a reliable conservative vote
on social issues.

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform.