The words “mother” and “father” will be removed from U.S.
passport applications and replaced with gender neutral terminology,
the State Department says.
“The words in the old form were ‘mother’ and ‘father,’”
said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for
Passport Services. “They are now ‘parent one’ and ‘parent
A statement on the State Department website noted: “These
improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description
of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of
families.” The statement didn’t note if it was for child
The State Department said the new passport applications, not yet
available to the public, will be available online soon.
Sprague said the decision to remove the traditional parenting names
was not an act of political correctness.
“We find that with changes in medical science and reproductive
technology that we are confronting situations now that we would not
have anticipated 10 or 15 years ago,” she said.
Gay rights groups are applauding the decision.
“Changing the term mother and father to the more global term of
parent allows many different types of families to be able to go and
apply for a passport for their child without feeling like the
government doesn’t recognize their family,” said Jennifer
Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council.
Her organization lobbied the government for several years to remove
the words from passport applications.
“Our government needs to recognize that the family structure is
changing,” Chrisler said. “The best thing that we can do is
support people who are raising kids in loving, stable
But some conservative Christians are outraged over the
“Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness
could it be considered an ‘improvement’ for a birth-related
document to provide less information about the circumstances of
that birth,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote
in a statement to Fox News Radio. “This is clearly designed to
advance the causes of same-sex ‘marriage’ and homosexual
parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if
not the letter of the Defense of Marriage
Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas,
agreed. “It’s part of an overall attempt at political
correctness to diminish the distinction between men and women and
to somehow suggest you don’t need both a father and a mother to
raise a child successfully,” said Jeffress. “(This decision)
was made to make homosexual couples feel more comfortable in
Chrisler recounted the day she and her female partner tried to get
her twin sons passports.
“Even though my partner was their legal mother, had adopted them
after I gave birth to them, she still had to put her name in the
father field, and that is both discriminatory and makes us feel
like second-class citizens,” she said.
Sprague said she would not use the word discriminatory to describe
the old passport form.
“I would prefer to use the word imprecise,” she said. “It
just didn’t capture the reality of their situation. Clearly, we
want to be sensitive to the feelings of other people, but we are
also very conscious of our need to introduce the greatest degree of
precision to the process.”
Perkins, meanwhile, accused the State Department of disrespecting
the law and called on Congress to “take their oversight rule very
seriously and intervene in both these circumstances.”
The new gender-neutral passport application will be rolled out in