U.S. Passport Applications to Say “Parent” and “Parent”

On December 22, the State Department announced that they would be changing the U.S. passport application to say “Parent” and “Parent” rather than “Mother” and “Father.”

Many of you may have played a part in making this happen: After running into the Mother/Father problem while completing a passport application for my son back in July, I started a petition over at Change.org, asking the State Department to change the form to say “Parent” and “Parent.” Over 900 people signed, including, I assume, some of you who read my post about it here at Mombian.

The Family Equality Council also deserves our hearty recognition and thanks. They have led the effort for the passport change and have been advocating hard for it in Washington.

The State Department has also changed the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) — a document confirming that a child born overseas to a U.S. citizen acquired U.S. citizenship at birth — to say “Parent” and “Parent.” The CRBA still states, however, “The following items pertain to the biological parents.” I know all of you with non-bio moms in the family see the problem with that one.

I spoke with Emily Hecht-McGowan, Director of Public Policy and Community Engagement for FEC, who said that the CRBA is controlled by U.S. immigration regulations and confers citizenship through biology. This was done a long time ago in order to protect children born out of wedlock to U.S. citizens abroad. She says this is one of many issues that FEC is continuing to address in Washington.

Still, things seem to be moving in the right direction. For those of us tired of crossing out “Father” and writing in “Mother” every time we fill out a school, camp, or medical form, the passport change is welcome news. Writing in the correction is not the biggest hassle in the world, but it’s another reminder of how our families are marginalized. It hurts even more if our kids are standing there watching us. Having “Parent” and “Parent” on what is arguably the single most important piece of identification a U.S. citizen may have sets a tremendous example for other agencies and organizations.

You may complete or print out an official U.S. Passport Application from the State Department Web site, but note that the new form will not be available until February 1.

Now go travel someplace fun with your families!