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 two.'”
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 applications only.
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.
Toeivah 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.
But some conservative Christians are outraged over the decision.
“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. ”
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.
The new gender-neutral passport application will be rolled out in February.