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Report: Romney Blocked Birth Certificates for Kids of Gay Families

New report shows yet another example of discriminatory practices in the Governor's office.
 
 
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US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a campaign rally at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on October 24.

 

There are a lot of stories about Mitt Romney's  homophobic attitudes in office, even in liberal Massachusetts (not to mention his bullying of a young gay man at his boarding school).

Recently, even more such stories have come forward.

After gay marriage became legal in the Bay State, it was recommended by the relevant government agencies that a change to new birth certificates be instituted universally and routinely: instead of "father" the new category would be "second parent." 

But this was not okay with the Romney administration, a search through records by the Boston Globe has revealed:

 

To comply with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in 2003, the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics said it needed to revise its birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The box for “father” would be relabeled “father or second parent,’’ reflecting the new law.

But to then-Governor Mitt Romney, who opposed child-rearing by gay couples, the proposal symbolized unacceptable changes in traditional family structures.

He rejected the Registry of Vital Records plan and insisted that his top legal staff individually review the circumstances of every birth to same-sex parents. Only after winning approval from Romney’s lawyers could hospital officials and town clerks across the state be permitted to cross out by hand the word “father’’ on individual birth certificates, and then write in “second parent,’’ in ink.

Every single child born to gay parents then had to be approved by the Romney adminstration, the Globe reports, and if they got the rubber stamp, there would be handwritten, instead of typed, changes to the birth certificates. Indeed, "The practice of requiring high-level legal review continued for the rest of Romney’s term, despite a warning from a Department of Public Health lawyer who said such a system placed the children of same-sex parents at an unfair disadvantage."

As Michelangelo Signorile writes at Huffington Post, the implication of this decision was far more than mere symbolism:

 

Those children would then go through life with birth certificates that marked them as strange, abnormal, less than everyone else, punished because Romney didn't approve of their parents. As a Department of Health attorney warned Romney, the children would be disadvantaged and would have trouble applying to school or getting drivers licenses as adults, particularly in a post-9/11 world where they might be considered security risks, having birth certificates that appeared altered. It was a "violation of existing statutes," the attorney warned Romney. But Romney waved off the warnings, not caring about the the legal, psychological or personal ramifications.

Why should he care about those ramifications when he was so obviously and deeply uncomfortable with LGBTQ families? Z ack Ford recently blogged about another profile of Romney, describing the moment during the state's gay marriage debate in which he said to a gay couple, "I didn't know you had families" and insulted them even further:

 

GOODRIDGE: Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?

ROMNEY: I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.

One of the women said the meeting felt like talking to a "robot." No question, there's a chip missing when it comes to Romney's ability to empathize with those whose lives are different from his own sheltered one.

Sarah Seltzer is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her work has been published at the Nation, the Christian Science Monitor, Jezebel and the Washington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahmseltzer and find her work at sarahmseltzer.com.

 
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