We’re not quite sure how to feel about this. Our gay blog reported this weekend that U.S. passports were eliminating gender specific language in the parent information section, now that there are an estimated 100,000 children in the country being raised by same-sex parents. The change, pioneered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was to have replaced the words “Father” and “Mother” with the admittedly vague, but more inclusive “Parent 1” and “Parent 2”.
It’s looking now like the change is stuck on third base. After conservative backlash about the proposed change which was to take effect February 1, Clinton has ordered the language be changed yet again to “Mother or Parent 1” and “Father or Parent 2”. Hmm.
To us, this is looking like a compromise that doesn’t actually make sense for one side. While on one hand it is fantastic that the federal government is recognizing that not all children have two parents of opposite gender in this modern world, it demeans that child’s parents to call his or her second father “Mother or Parent 1”, or to call his or her second mother “Father or Parent 2”. This is hardly an accurate depiction of the families the move was meant to better portray.
It smells to us like this has spilled blood in the water, and the federal government will have some major problems on it’s hands thanks to this compromise in the not too distant future. The mere fact they are making a change at all is an acknowledgment that these differences exist in today’s families. When inevitably an American citizen with same sex parents sues the government for discriminating against them, which the government is literally acknowledging that it is, the defense is going to have a tough case on it’s hands.
You just can’t do equality halfway. The move to genderless parental information that so many of you applauded (200+ likes on the article posted to our Facebook page within an hour) will eventually be the standard. Anything in between is simply a placating limbo to both sides of the debate, and won’t stand for long.
Are you disappointed to see the federal government back down on this?