Romney Blocked Birth Certificates for Gay Couples’ Children
Since winning his party’s nomination, Mitt Romney has attempted to appeal to moderate voters on a variety of issues to include gay rights.
For instance, at the recent Univision “Meet the Candidates” forum with Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas in Miami Romney stated that he felt gays should be allowed to “raise a family as they would choose“.
“My view is this, that individuals should be able to pursue a relationship of love and respect, and raise a family as they would choose.”
However, this “severely moderate” viewpoint is directly contradicted by revelations disclosed by the Boston Globe today, regarding his efforts as governor of Massachusetts to thwart the issuance of routine birth certificates for the children of gay couples.
“It seemed like a minor adjustment. 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.
Divisions between the governor’s office and state bureaucrats over the language on the forms and details about the extraordinary effort by the Republican governor to prevent routine recording of births to gay parents are contained in state records obtained by the Globe this month.”
In response to this disclosure, today the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization, the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following press release noting that “Governor Romney’s calculated discrimination against gay and lesbian parents create[s] documentation struggles for kids”.
Mitt Romney Rejected Birth Certificates for Massachusetts Children Born to Same-Sex Couples
Governor Romney’s calculated discrimination against gay and lesbian parents creates documentation struggles for kids
Washington – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is condemning steps Mitt Romney took as governor of Massachusetts to discriminate against families headed by same-sex couples, including demanding that his administration personally review every request to revise birth certificates for children born to same-sex parents. According to a report in the Boston Globe, Romney rejected a request from the state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics to revise birth certificate forms to apply to same-sex parents. Instead, Romney insisted his lawyers investigate every single request for birth certificates for children born to same-sex couples. If Romney’s team decided a request was worthy of revising a birth certificate, officials could then write-in, by hand, the term ‘second parent’ on the legal document. In some instances, Romney denied parents proper birth certificates for their children.
The state’s Department of Public Health warned Romney that his intervention placed children at a disadvantage, particularly later in life as they tried to obtain various forms of identification such as a passport or driver’s license, or as they registered to vote. The same DPH official also warned that allowing officials to alter birth certificates by hand – as opposed to simply revising the forms, as the state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics had recommended – was tantamount to a violation of statutes, and would impair efforts to keep organized state records.
Romney, who has a significant track record of deriding LGBT families and speaking out against relationship recognition, appeared not to care what impact his close oversight of same-sex families had on the law. The Globe reports that emails between Romney officials and the Department of Public Health contained details about the marriages and births of dozens of families.
“It’s appalling that Mitt Romney would create so many additional obstacles for same-sex parents, particularly when the path to starting a family is already so hard for LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Romney prioritized his own distaste for LGBT people over the well-being of children in Massachusetts. Mitt Romney didn’t care that these children would face a lifetime of obstacles in obtaining legal documentation for things like getting a driver’s license or registering to vote; he only cared about making sure same-sex parents felt abnormal and isolated simply because they wanted to start a family.”
This isn’t the first time Romney has shown utter disregard for the challenges LGBT families face. Earlier this year, he tried to deflect from his discrimination against LGBT people by saying that adoption for same-sex couples was legal in all states but one. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Same-sex couples face overwhelming legal challenges in starting families – in fact, laws in seven states restrict same-sex couples from adopting altogether. And in the vast majority of states, adoption by LGB individuals and families is unclear and left to the discretion of judges, state agencies and adoption agencies who may discriminate.
Romney also has publicly sneered at LGBT families. During a 2004 meeting with Julie Goodridge, a plaintiff in the historic case that led to marriage equality in Massachusetts, Goodridge asked Romney what she should tell her little girl about why her two moms couldn’t marry. Romney coldly replied: “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.” And at an event in South Carolina, Romney bemoaned marriage equality in his state, and said of same-sex couples: “Some are actually having children born to them.”
“Mitt Romney has stood before the American people multiple times and said he does not support discrimination against LGBT people – and that is an outright lie,” added Griffin. “Denying birth certificates to children is just the latest in a long list of efforts Romney has undertaken to disenfranchise LGBT people. Support for equality is mainstream, and as a result Romney is attempting to deceive the American people – but his long history of discrimination speaks for itself.”
Birth certificates weren’t the only LGBT issue on which Romney went up against the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. In 2006, DPH put the brakes on an anti-bullying guide after consulting with Romney’s staff – because the guide contained terms including “transgender” and “bisexual.”
Learn more about Mitt Romney’s anti-LGBT track record at www.hrc.org/romney.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.