Boston Globe: Romney Blocked Birth Certificates for Gay Parents

Jim Burroway

October 25th, 2012

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.

This is particularly creepy: Romney ordering his lawyers to personally review each and every birth of a child to same-sex parents to figure out whether that child deserve to have its birth certificate state who its actual parents are:

Most of the birth-certificate reviews by the governor’s office appeared cursory. For example, health department deputy counsel Wiesenberg e-mailed Brian Leske and Nielsen on Dec. 23, 2004, to ask permission to issue a certificate regarding one birth: “Birth at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Facts (married mother, same sex spouse, anonymous donor) are similar to 23 other cases that Mark has reviewed … [and] instruct[ed] the hospital to list mother & same sex spouse as the second parent on the child’s birth certificate.”

Leske e-mailed back: “You are authorized to inform the Medical Center that may list the same sex spouse as a second parent on the birth certificate.” In one instance, in which a couple asked that the handwritten alteration for the second parent say “wife” instead of second parent, the request was denied. In another, Leske refused to allow a birth certificate to be issued listing a same-sex couple as the parents because they were not married.


October 25th, 2012

Makes one wonder how soon after the Globe’s records request Log Cabin got the call for an endorsement….


October 25th, 2012

What a winner LCR endorsed.


October 25th, 2012

Remember: Republicans are always against Big Government

Timothy Kincaid

October 25th, 2012

In another, Leske refused to allow a birth certificate to be issued listing a same-sex couple as the parents because they were not married.

I see the logic in that policy in states where marriage is legal for two reasons.

1) The husband is legally assumed to be the father of the child and is noted as so on the child’s birth certificate by default. It is the logical extension of this legal theory to same-sex spouses which underlies the notation of the same-sex spouse as the child’s other parent. While there may be reasons specific to this couple to list another person as parent, I’m not sure that there are legal reasons.

2) It’s in the child’s best interest that it’s parents have a legal obligation to the relationship. With a biological father, I see the reasons for including the non-spousal parent. And if there were biological connections between the non-spousal same-sex couple that would also hold true. But I would assume that in both cases there should be some condition other than “that’s who I’m dating”.

That being said, this decision does seem like a wacky and inconsistent response from an administration that opposed legal marriage.

Were this from marriage supporters, I could see the consistence and logic. But in this case it just seems petty.

I guess I’d have to know more about the circumstances.


October 25th, 2012

Yeah. Timothy finds logic in the anti-gay position, but not the logic in the Health And Human Services Secretary of that states logic, as it was breaking the law to hand change the certificates.

You take the cake for hypocrisy. You will defend even the most indefensible of things.

Richard Rush

October 25th, 2012

I wonder if Romney’s meddling in birth certificates could somehow be linked to the Mormon obsession with genealogical records which enables the charming Mormon practice of posthumously converting people to Mormonism.

Timothy Kincaid

October 25th, 2012

Timothy finds logic in the anti-gay position, but not the logic in the Health And Human Services Secretary of that states logic, as it was breaking the law to hand change the certificates.

The HHS recommendation would not apply to same sex couples that were not married. Try reading my entire comment instead of desperately and obsessively looking for a word or two to criticize.

Timothy Kincaid

October 25th, 2012

Richard, I hadn’t thought of that. I wonder.

I’m sure his anti-marriage views are based in his church’s, ummm, unique views about marriage.

btw… is there somewhere that you can register that you do not want to be converted after death?

Richard Rush

October 25th, 2012

Timothy said, “btw… is there somewhere that you can register that you do not want to be converted after death?”

I don’t know, but I doubt it would be effective, anyway, because the Mormon church can change anything, including contents of their sacred founding documents, via revelation. While they don’t actually change the document, the revelation enables them to assert that a given passage is no longer applicable.

One of the best examples was when the Mormons ended their exclusion of black people in the late 1970s . . . via revelation. The documents are quite explicit in articulating inferiority of black people, and how they must be excluded from their church. Recently, Andrew Sullivan has written a lot about this:


October 25th, 2012

Jewish groups have repeatedly objected to having Holocaust victims baptized by proxy. The Mormon Church has promised to stop the practice, but somehow there are a lot of rebellious Mormons who just happen to sneak into the temple and do it anyway. I doubt that they would pay any attention at all to a list of persons who state they don’t want to be baptized after they die.

Technically they are only supposed to baptize dead relatives, so if none of your family ever converts to Mormonism, you will probably be able to escape. And they insist that the person being proxy-baptized has the opportunity to refuse. Since there are no reports coming back from the other side, we have no way of knowing if this is accurate or not. The real insult is to the living descendents who are not Mormon and who object strenuously to the whole idea.


October 26th, 2012

What a creepy asshole.

Your kid’s birth certificate should be no one else’s business to “approve” anything on, period.


October 26th, 2012

No, there is no place you can register to keep them from converting you after your death. The requests are made by individula members of the church, and not a central body. They have, in the past, apologized for the conversion of people like Anne Franke. But even after they promised to only do this to family members of the church, they continue to this day.


October 26th, 2012


You said: “The HHS recommendation would not apply to same sex couples that were not married. Try reading my entire comment instead of desperately and obsessively looking for a word or two to criticize.” Well, you mention two different scenarios so it’s difficult to discern which one you were speaking of. But it’s hilarious that you will defend almost anything.

Regan DuCasse

October 27th, 2012

We know there are millions of never married single mothers that, if they can identify the bio father, marital status is not necessary to name them.

Considering the millions of anonymous donors out there who have hundreds of kids, typically a birth certificate that says the other parent is unknown, even when a married couple uses such donations, do THEY have to be treated this way?
Does the donor in fact, NOW have to be named on a certificate as the THIRD parent?

And adoptive parents, aren’t the bio ones, so do THEY have to be named along with the adoptive parents as well? Fourth parent set, so to speak.

Here in CA, it’s pretty much whoever shows up and SAYS they are the other parent that gets put on the certificate. Whether married or not.
We have laws that say, if a father finds out that a child his wife has, turns out not to be his biologically, he’s STILL obligated to pay child support, leaving the bio off the hook for it.

THAT’S why it’s not the biological connection or marital status that MUST make the person the parent, but the obligations they’ve signed on to have.

The anti haven’t gotten tired yet of moving the goal posts and raising the bar on gay people, literally to high heaven.
Which makes their actions motivated not by any concern for the children, but for their perception of a divine right to screw with ONLY gay people.

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