Alex Blaze

Passport application forms amended, re-amended

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 11, 2011 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: fatherhood, gay parents, Hillary Rodham Clinton, lesbian, mothers, passports, same-sex

Last week the State Department announced that applications for passports wouldn't ask for information about people's "Father" and "Mother" anymore, hillary-clinton.jpgbut instead ask about "Parent 1" and "Parent 2." It makes sense, and not just for same-sex couples raising children, but for a variety of families that don't fit the mold.

But every good idea in the US must be watered down by compromise:

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."

Not that this was needed when it comes to the forms themselves. A child's heterosexual parents would be able to figure out what "Parent" means without a hassle and wouldn't feel like they're messing up the forms if they answer truthfully, so that seems like it was already a compromise (it's not like the new forms said "Mother" and "Mother"), but any good solution that works for everyone has to be compromised with some people who think that calling them a parent instead of a father or mother is the end of the world.

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Not sure exactly what they're describing, but I'm familiar with some school forms that had 2 or even more slots for contact information, and each one had the option of checking a box for mother, father, legal guardian. If it's something like that, then everyone gets to be recognized under their preference (I'm sure there are some same-sex parents who would prefer to be known as mother and mother or father and father, rather than parent 1 and parent 2 - I mean, why the fuck do they need to be numbered?) But if they have 2 sections, one labeled "father or parent" and the other "mother or parent" then that's just confusing and messed up.

I'm for it, and I think this little action might open a lot of people's eyes to the ways something as seemingly inconsequential as a form can hurt those who don't fit the mold.