California bill would modernize birth certificates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- State Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez today introduced AB 1951, sponsored by Equality California, to modernize birth certificates to accurately reflect the gender of a child’s parent or parents.

The new birth certificates would allow each parent to identify as mother, father or parent.

"Birth certificates establish real rights and responsibilities, and it's important to have them in sync with modern families," said John O'Connor, executive director of Equality California. "Every child deserves a parent or parents who love them, and AB 1951 will give every child the dignity of respectfully and accurately representing them."

“The definition of a family needs to be more flexible, and same-sex parents should not be discriminated against when filling out a birth certificate,” said Assemblymember Gomez. “Under AB 1951, same-sex parents will be able to accurately identify each parent as mother, father or parent."

The current practice in completing a birth certificate limits the choices to birth mother and father, or to leave the father blank. Unfortunately, this practice forces same-sex parents to inaccurately place one partner’s name in the “father” or “mother” field.

AB 1951 would require the Department of Public Health to modify birth certificates to contain a line for the name of the parent of the child with boxes to choose “mother,” “father” or “parent,” allowing same-sex parents to accurately identify their relation to the child.

According to the 2010 Census, there are more than 15,000 same-sex couples with children in California, a number that is expected to grow dramatically after a Supreme Court decision returned the freedom to marry to California.

By being listed on a birth certificate, parentage is officially recognized by the state, and entails the duty to support and care for their children. It also allows parents to make decisions about their child’s education, healthcare, religion, recreation and etc.

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