Friday, July 22, 2005

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Birth Certificates

In a display of incompetence and unprofessionalism, Governor Mitt Romney has refused to have the commonwealth update birth certificates to reflect the same-sex marriage laws. The Quincy Patriot Ledger broke the story and the Boston Globe has the followup.

The short of it is that Romney intentionally forces hospitals to scratch out FATHER and write in OTHER PARENT. While this reads like the Monty Python routine of the cat license, the 61 kids already born to lesbian spouses and future ones will end up with altered certificates that may not be acceptable to passport offices and other government or even corporate uses.

The likely outcome is that Romney will force an expensive program of reissuing all of these. His pettiness certainly does not suit someone with national political ambitions.

This is not just an I-forgot case. The Massachusetts Town Clerks Association has repeatedly requested new certificates. As the commonwealth has adjusted marriage licenses to the same-sex reality over the past year, this is a simple matter and a pressing one, according to Plymouth Town Clerk Laurence Pizer. "It's unacceptable to have cross-outs on a vital record. It would be impossible to ensure that the cross-out was authentic. Who's to say someone else didn't alter the birth certificate?''

The Globe reports that as early as February Romney made it plain that he was willing to let the children and their parents suffer on this one. (Insert your own, "Nyah, nyah," here.)
(O)n a political trip to South Carolina, (Romney) told a Republican group that he was dismayed by the clerks' effort to have birth certificates revised for the children of gay couples. ''Some [same-sex couples] are actually having children born to them," Romney said.

''It's not right on paper; it's not right in fact," he said. ''Every child has a right to a mother and a father."

That's a wonderful fantasy, Old Ironhair, but for over a year and for the future that is not the law here. Also in a world of unmarried and single parents, widowed parents, divorced and separated parents and on and on, save the Norman Rockwell paintings for those who will not see the challenges and beauties of real life.

It may be a good time to quote Lenny Bruce here. "Reality is what is. What should be is a dirty lie."

Note: Romney has also tried the ploy of having to change state law to permit this. Not only have other states and nations not had any difficulty tweaking their legal wording in this and related issues, but our own Chapter 45: Section 1 is pretty clean as is. For example: In the record of births, date of birth, place of birth, name and sex of child; names, places of birth, and dates of birth of both parents; and residence and birth surname of the child's mother.

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