US passport applications are getting a make over on the heels of the recent repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”. When it comes to passport applications, the State Department is considering more gender-neutral language on passport applications. Gay rights activists are insisting on further changes to federal policies that they maintain are unfavorable to gay Americans.
Currently, passport forms required for first-time passport applicants younger than 16 ask for child’s “Mother” and “Father”. The State Department was planning to update the forms to ask instead for the names of a child’s “Parent 1″ and “Parent 2.” Gay rights groups see the “parent” reference as a more gender-neutral reference for same-sex parents.
Gay rights groups are thrilled at the projected changes but feel that the passport application is just one of hundreds of government forms that still need to be changed.
The State Department’s statement about the passport changes states that the passport applications simply reflect “recognition of different types of families.”
Initially, the State Department had announced that children’s passport applications would no longer contain the words “mother” and “father”. Instead the child passport application would contain the phrases “parent 1″ and “parent 2.”
However, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton intervened and ordered that the terms “mother” and “father” remain on passport forms.
The State Department has confirmed that the passport forms will now ask for the names of the child’s “mother or parent” and “father or parent,” or possibly “mother or parent 1″ and “father or parent 2.”
The new passport forms will be available beginning March 1, 2011. In the meantime, people can continue using the current passport form as long as they plan to submit the passport application before March 1, 2011.
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