The words â€œmotherâ€ and â€œfatherâ€ will be removed from U.S. passport applications and replaced with gender neutral terminology, the State Department says. â€œThe words in the old form were â€˜motherâ€™ and â€˜father,â€™â€ said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services. "They are now â€˜parent oneâ€™ and â€˜parent two.â€™"
A statement on the State Department website noted: â€œThese improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a childâ€™s parents and in recognition of different types of families.â€ 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. â€œWe 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,â€ she said.
Gay rights groups are applauding the decision. â€œChanging 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 doesnâ€™t recognize their family,â€ said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of Family Equality Council. Her organization lobbied the government for several years to remove the words from passport applications. â€œOur government needs to recognize that the family structure is changing,â€ Chrisler said. â€œThe best thing that we can do is support people who are raising kids in loving, stable families.â€
But some conservative Christians are outraged over the decision. â€œOnly in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an â€˜improvementâ€™ for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth,â€ Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wrote in a statement to Fox News Radio. â€œThis is clearly designed to advance the causes of same-sex â€˜marriageâ€™ and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act.â€