Parent one & parent two

U. S. passport applications will no longer ask for “mother” and “father.”  Instead, they will ask for “parent one” and “parent two.”  From the Washington Post:

Goodbye, Mom and Dad. Hello, Parent One and Parent Two.

The State Department has decided to make U.S. passport application forms “gender neutral” by removing references to mother and father, officials said, in favor of language that describes one’s parentage somewhat less tenderly.

The change is “in recognition of different types of families,” according to a statement issued just before Christmas that drew widespread attention Friday after a Fox News report.

The announcement of the change was buried at the end of a Dec. 22 news release, titled “Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate Improvements,” that highlighted unrelated security changes.

The new policy is a win for gay rights groups, a vocal and financially generous Democratic voting bloc that has pushed for the change since Barack Obama began his presidential transition in late 2008. The decision follows last month’s vote to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which gay leaders consider one of their biggest victories in years.

via Parentage goes ‘gender neutral’ on passport form.

First of all, every human being does, in fact, have a female mother and a male father, whether they are married to each other or not.  Since citizenship is established by the place of biological birth, surely “father” and “mother” is relevant on a passport.  But beyond that, what do we learn from this “victory” about the agenda of gay rights groups?

UPDATE: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered that “mother” and “father” be retained along with the new wording. The forms will call for “mother or parent 1″ and “father or parent 2.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting, particularly in ,light of the other materials one must submit for children. My wife (she’s reliably female, so she gets to be “mother”) and I went down this past weekend to the Post Office to renew her passport and get cards for our kids. We both had to be present and sign that the kids were ours, but my wife also had to give information on her/i> parents, and we had to turn in our original marriage license as Tarrant County, Texas uses the mother’s maiden name on the birth certificate (which we also had to submit). Reading this post, I was thinking that rather than being an advance, as “new family forms” become more common, it is going to become more difficult for people to establish who they are. The upshot? I’m not sure, and I’ve got 2+” of snow on my driveway to remove, so times a little short to figure it out. :)

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting, particularly in ,light of the other materials one must submit for children. My wife (she’s reliably female, so she gets to be “mother”) and I went down this past weekend to the Post Office to renew her passport and get cards for our kids. We both had to be present and sign that the kids were ours, but my wife also had to give information on her/i> parents, and we had to turn in our original marriage license as Tarrant County, Texas uses the mother’s maiden name on the birth certificate (which we also had to submit). Reading this post, I was thinking that rather than being an advance, as “new family forms” become more common, it is going to become more difficult for people to establish who they are. The upshot? I’m not sure, and I’ve got 2+” of snow on my driveway to remove, so times a little short to figure it out. :)

  • SKPeterson

    Oh. And never type before coffee and while trying to put on winter gear. You’ll forget to close your italics, kid!

  • SKPeterson

    Oh. And never type before coffee and while trying to put on winter gear. You’ll forget to close your italics, kid!

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    I’m wondering if Hallmark will have Parent One Day and Parent Two Day cards for this May and June.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-27802-Televangelism--Pop-Christianity-Examiner Bob Hunter

    I’m wondering if Hallmark will have Parent One Day and Parent Two Day cards for this May and June.

  • Pete

    Seussian

  • Pete

    Seussian

  • Booklover

    Thank you, Hillary.

  • Booklover

    Thank you, Hillary.

  • Carl Vehse

    Why stop the lunacy there? The application should have space for parent 3, parent 4, parent 5, etc. After all, according to Hillary, it takes a village.

  • Carl Vehse

    Why stop the lunacy there? The application should have space for parent 3, parent 4, parent 5, etc. After all, according to Hillary, it takes a village.

  • Leslie4

    Bob @3 – thank you for that laugh out loud moment during my morning coffee….

  • Leslie4

    Bob @3 – thank you for that laugh out loud moment during my morning coffee….

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Wait. The father is billed as Parent 2? As head of the family, the father should be Parent 1!

    See? More government sponsored societal diminishing of the importance of fathers!

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Wait. The father is billed as Parent 2? As head of the family, the father should be Parent 1!

    See? More government sponsored societal diminishing of the importance of fathers!

  • Kirk

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always called my parents “Unit 1″ and “Unit 2.” I, for one, welcome these changes.

  • Kirk

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always called my parents “Unit 1″ and “Unit 2.” I, for one, welcome these changes.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Interesting note for some who may not know this.

    I just got my son his first passport. They require both parents to be physically present to with the child to apply for the passport and the passport office. Does anyone know if it was always like that?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Interesting note for some who may not know this.

    I just got my son his first passport. They require both parents to be physically present to with the child to apply for the passport and the passport office. Does anyone know if it was always like that?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oops, SK already noted that. Still was it always that way?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Oops, SK already noted that. Still was it always that way?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Almost more offended now that Father is so distinctly labled parent #2.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Almost more offended now that Father is so distinctly labled parent #2.

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    Oh man, I don’t even remember filling out my passport forms (back in the early months of 2010), considering filling out my Chinese Visa forms was all kinds of terror. Although, I’m still allowed to go back to China until July should I hop a plane and want in!

  • http://thefragrantharbor.blogspot.com Catherine

    Oh man, I don’t even remember filling out my passport forms (back in the early months of 2010), considering filling out my Chinese Visa forms was all kinds of terror. Although, I’m still allowed to go back to China until July should I hop a plane and want in!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I realize that, in the Culture War, every front is a major front, but still…

    “Since citizenship is established by the place of biological birth, surely ‘father’ and ‘mother’ is relevant on a passport.” Indeed. Perhaps the State Department could add explanatory text under this field: “Adopted children, please list your real parents, not the ones that have raised you. If you are a bastard, please make your best guess.” Of course, the people who raised the child are often in a better position to provide information on the biological parents of a child (since the child was not around for his own conception, as such).

    “What do we learn from this ‘victory’ about the agenda of gay rights groups?” Or, indeed, I would add, from the ensuing kerfuffle and “semi-counter-victory” brought about at the hands of Carl Vehse’s (Female) Obsession? I would say it’s this: That Culture Warriors would rather enforce their own view of the world onto even the most minute aspects of bureaucratic paperwork, rather than admit that the world is the way it is.

    I mean, it’s hardly a child’s fault that, though he has a biological father and mother, one or more of them have not been around for most or all his life, and he may indeed have known entirely different people as parents than those contributing to his genome. Oh, but let’s pretend it is that child’s fault, that his admitting as much is necessarily a political statement, and not merely a statement of fact.

    Were you raised by a gay couple? Well then, “conservatives” want to know who your biological parents are on this form. Were you adopted by a straight couple? Then apparently, the old form would work for you, and no further information is needed.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I realize that, in the Culture War, every front is a major front, but still…

    “Since citizenship is established by the place of biological birth, surely ‘father’ and ‘mother’ is relevant on a passport.” Indeed. Perhaps the State Department could add explanatory text under this field: “Adopted children, please list your real parents, not the ones that have raised you. If you are a bastard, please make your best guess.” Of course, the people who raised the child are often in a better position to provide information on the biological parents of a child (since the child was not around for his own conception, as such).

    “What do we learn from this ‘victory’ about the agenda of gay rights groups?” Or, indeed, I would add, from the ensuing kerfuffle and “semi-counter-victory” brought about at the hands of Carl Vehse’s (Female) Obsession? I would say it’s this: That Culture Warriors would rather enforce their own view of the world onto even the most minute aspects of bureaucratic paperwork, rather than admit that the world is the way it is.

    I mean, it’s hardly a child’s fault that, though he has a biological father and mother, one or more of them have not been around for most or all his life, and he may indeed have known entirely different people as parents than those contributing to his genome. Oh, but let’s pretend it is that child’s fault, that his admitting as much is necessarily a political statement, and not merely a statement of fact.

    Were you raised by a gay couple? Well then, “conservatives” want to know who your biological parents are on this form. Were you adopted by a straight couple? Then apparently, the old form would work for you, and no further information is needed.

  • Joe

    sg – it was not always that way. I had a passport as a child and my dad did not need to miss any time at work to verify that I was who my Mom and I said I was.

  • Joe

    sg – it was not always that way. I had a passport as a child and my dad did not need to miss any time at work to verify that I was who my Mom and I said I was.

  • SKPeterson

    Sadly, I think having the two parents sign on the passports has as much to do with situations in which one parent absconds with the children and flees the country as anything else.

  • SKPeterson

    Sadly, I think having the two parents sign on the passports has as much to do with situations in which one parent absconds with the children and flees the country as anything else.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes, SKPeterson, and so I for one am happy with that situation.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Yes, SKPeterson, and so I for one am happy with that situation.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is sort of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” element to the whole thing.

    Really, no change was truly necessary to just get the job done.

    Still, I wonder about single moms who list no father on the birth certificate. Nowadays unmarried women cannot just put the father’s name on the birth certificate without his consent. I know this because when I applied for my kids’ birth certificates, there were specific directions about filling in the father’s info.

    How do those kids get passports later?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    There is sort of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” element to the whole thing.

    Really, no change was truly necessary to just get the job done.

    Still, I wonder about single moms who list no father on the birth certificate. Nowadays unmarried women cannot just put the father’s name on the birth certificate without his consent. I know this because when I applied for my kids’ birth certificates, there were specific directions about filling in the father’s info.

    How do those kids get passports later?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Obviously some kids have no father listed on the birth certificate because the health dept. has a page explaining how to get him listed later. So, can those kids get passports or not?

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/rop.html

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Obviously some kids have no father listed on the birth certificate because the health dept. has a page explaining how to get him listed later. So, can those kids get passports or not?

    http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/rop.html

  • DonS

    Here is the actual form, prior to the February 2011 updates http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79955.pdf

    SG raises good questions. I never had a passport as a child, but Joe has indicated that 20 or so years ago, when he was a child, the presence of two parents was not required to apply for a minor’s passport. I’m pretty sure it was required 5-10 years ago, when we first applied for our childrens’ passport.

    As for the issue of getting a passport if you never had two identified parents, see the linked instructions. Basically, you need to supply whatever birth/adoption evidence you have, including notarized statements, etc.

    Changing the form from Father/Mother to Parent 1/Parent 2 is, to me, a bureaucratic thing. Once at least one state permitted same sex couples to adopt, this issue arose, and you really have to adapt the paperwork to address it. The same thing happens with marriage licenses in those states that permit same sex marriages. It’s not the form change that is the issue, but the underlying destruction of our cultural morality that is the real concern.

    As to the “update”, that seems unduly provocative on the part of the State Department and Hillary Clinton. As you can see from my link, on the current form the father is listed first. So, why would you switch that on the new form, in addition to introducing what you know will be a controversial change to “parent 1″ and “parent 2″, unless it is your intention to provoke?

  • DonS

    Here is the actual form, prior to the February 2011 updates http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79955.pdf

    SG raises good questions. I never had a passport as a child, but Joe has indicated that 20 or so years ago, when he was a child, the presence of two parents was not required to apply for a minor’s passport. I’m pretty sure it was required 5-10 years ago, when we first applied for our childrens’ passport.

    As for the issue of getting a passport if you never had two identified parents, see the linked instructions. Basically, you need to supply whatever birth/adoption evidence you have, including notarized statements, etc.

    Changing the form from Father/Mother to Parent 1/Parent 2 is, to me, a bureaucratic thing. Once at least one state permitted same sex couples to adopt, this issue arose, and you really have to adapt the paperwork to address it. The same thing happens with marriage licenses in those states that permit same sex marriages. It’s not the form change that is the issue, but the underlying destruction of our cultural morality that is the real concern.

    As to the “update”, that seems unduly provocative on the part of the State Department and Hillary Clinton. As you can see from my link, on the current form the father is listed first. So, why would you switch that on the new form, in addition to introducing what you know will be a controversial change to “parent 1″ and “parent 2″, unless it is your intention to provoke?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m guessing the “Primary evidence of sole authority to apply would include the child’s birth certificate with only the mother’s name on it.

    Otherwise, maybe a death certificate for a deceased parent, or a court record of termination of parental rights for one parent, etc.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I’m guessing the “Primary evidence of sole authority to apply would include the child’s birth certificate with only the mother’s name on it.

    Otherwise, maybe a death certificate for a deceased parent, or a court record of termination of parental rights for one parent, etc.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@18), “There is sort of a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ element to the whole thing.” Except that it was broken!

    The form (which DonS links to @20, and thanks for that, Don) does not ask about biological parent information. It asks for information on “both parents or the child’s legal guardian(s)”.

    It has been true for some time that a child’s legal guardians are not necessarily both male and female. This may stem from same-sex couples adopting a child that is not their own. It may also stem from a woman giving birth to a child and asking that her female partner be granted legal guardianship, as well (which is, I suppose, a different kind of adoption).

    Regardless, the form needed to be fixed to address this fact.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    SG said (@18), “There is sort of a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ element to the whole thing.” Except that it was broken!

    The form (which DonS links to @20, and thanks for that, Don) does not ask about biological parent information. It asks for information on “both parents or the child’s legal guardian(s)”.

    It has been true for some time that a child’s legal guardians are not necessarily both male and female. This may stem from same-sex couples adopting a child that is not their own. It may also stem from a woman giving birth to a child and asking that her female partner be granted legal guardianship, as well (which is, I suppose, a different kind of adoption).

    Regardless, the form needed to be fixed to address this fact.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Nah. They could have just filled in the names in the old form. It wouldn’t have hurt anything. It is just going to sit in some file anyway. The info would have been there if anyone needed it for some reason.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Nah. They could have just filled in the names in the old form. It wouldn’t have hurt anything. It is just going to sit in some file anyway. The info would have been there if anyone needed it for some reason.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    If it is true (@23) that it “wouldn’t have hurt anything” for a woman to fill in her name where the form says “Father”, then it is all the more true that it wouldn’t hurt anything to give the form more accurate labels, to address the eventuality of two women filling it out.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    If it is true (@23) that it “wouldn’t have hurt anything” for a woman to fill in her name where the form says “Father”, then it is all the more true that it wouldn’t hurt anything to give the form more accurate labels, to address the eventuality of two women filling it out.

  • Joe

    It can also happen that two not gay people of the same sex can share legal guardianship of a minor. I am not convinced this change really has anything to do with some grand gay conspiracy.

  • Joe

    It can also happen that two not gay people of the same sex can share legal guardianship of a minor. I am not convinced this change really has anything to do with some grand gay conspiracy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My only point is that it is so totally unimportant. I mean so long as the parent/parents info is collected and accurate. It is hardly newsworthy. If could have just as easily not been reported at all.

    What if I were just in a hurry and filled out my application wrong and accidentally switched the mother-father info? So what? I could just draw a line through it and keep on going.

    I agree with Joe. What if some guy has a hazardous occupation, his wife is deceased and he officially names his brother or adult son as the other legal guardian in case something happens? People should have some flexibility because life has variation.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    My only point is that it is so totally unimportant. I mean so long as the parent/parents info is collected and accurate. It is hardly newsworthy. If could have just as easily not been reported at all.

    What if I were just in a hurry and filled out my application wrong and accidentally switched the mother-father info? So what? I could just draw a line through it and keep on going.

    I agree with Joe. What if some guy has a hazardous occupation, his wife is deceased and he officially names his brother or adult son as the other legal guardian in case something happens? People should have some flexibility because life has variation.


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