As Governor, Mitt Romney Blocked Birth Certificates To Gay Parents

After Massachusetts legalized gay marriage in 2003, the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics needed to revise its birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The Registry had planned to change the box for “father” to “father or second parent,” but then-Governor Mitt Romney objected to the symbolic restructuring of the “traditional family,” and imposed a series of hoops for gay parents to jump through.

The Boston Globe recently acquired state records regarding the Governor’s handling of the new birth certificates. Every birth to a same-sex couple was reviewed by Romney’s top legal staff, who then decided if hospital officials and town clerks across the state could cross out “father’’ by hand on each individual birth certificate, and write in “second parent,’’ in ink.

Romney’s stipulations mainly resulted in delays for women married to same-sex partners who gave birth, whereas gay men were required to obtain a court order. In at least one case, a birth certificate was denied to a same-sex couple because they were not married.

By law, birth certificates must be issued within 10 days of birth, and and thanks to Romney’s bureaucratic red tape, some failed to meet that deadline. The Governor was also warned by a Department of Public Health lawyer that his system placed the children of same-sex parents at an unfair disadvantage:

Crossouts and handwritten alterations constituted “violations of existing statutes’’ and harmed “the integrity of the vital record-keeping system,’’ the deputy general counsel of the department, Peggy Wiesenberg, warned in a confidential Dec. 13, 2004, memo to Mark Nielsen, Romney’s general counsel.

The changes also would impair law enforcement and security efforts in a post-9/11 world, she said, and children with altered certificates would be likely to “encounter [difficulties] later in life . . . as they try to register for school, or apply for a passport or a driver’s license, or enlist in the military, or register to vote.”

The Romney administration also ran afoul of the Department of Public Health after it claimed that the decision to change the birth certificate form required an act of the state Legislature, though Wisenberg asserted that that decision lay with the DPH. In truth, Romney was and still is simply opposed to gay marriage and gay adoption, as he made abundantly clear on many occasions (and not so clear on a number of others).

Addressing a contingency of socially conservative voters in 2005, Romney said, “Some gays are actually having children born to them. It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.’’

Activist Zach Wahls has a different point of view. “The race, religion, or sexual orientation of parents should not matter,’’ the 19-year-old said. “The single most important factor is whether the parents are willing to put in the time, the blood, the sweat, and toil to do what it takes to raise children.’’

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  • LaTeesha

    So, he would punish children and make their life more difficult to simply further his own homophobic ideas. What a sleaze.

  • Boytoy

    This man is atrocious.

  • Aidan8

    Let’s see how the apologists defend this one….. perhaps by deflection? Maybe obfuscation? Or the old standby… pure hyperbole? Come on apologists… let’s hear you defend Romney on this…

  • Shadeaux

    He is just a hideous, evil, vile man.

  • 2eo

    So he denies them and then demands too see them from Obama.

    Flip flopper, and nothing else.

  • balehead

    And yet 37 percent of gays will vote for him…wtf??

  • Thinkliberty

    Seriously ppl- do your research. Just in case.

    Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts 02 to 06. Same-sex marriage was allowed in this state in 04. And it became the first state in the US to issue same-sex marriage license order by Mitt Romney. He has beliefs but governs by the will of the people. Don’t let the media control you… do your research.

  • randalaw

    He didn’t govern by the will of the people. He governed by the will of the Democrat-controlled legislature. YOU do YOUR research.

  • Aidan8

    Gee…… BJ….. where are you??? Hmmm? Where’s your defense of this?? Hmmm….. cat have your tongue??

  • LaTeesha

    @Thinkliberty: You don’t have your facts correct. Please review the history. He fought it every step of the way.

  • alexoloughlin

    And gay republicans really believe they can change their party from within? Really? They claim he’s better for the economy which garnered the support of the Log Cabiners recently. Yet, when he left Massachusetts as the former governor, the state was ranked #47 out of 50 in job creation, third from the bottom. Go figure!

  • thedavid

    This is not the only area in which Mitt made life difficult for gay people while he was Governor of MA. My husband and I were married in MA during the first week same sex marriages had become legal. I had been in contact with officials in the town we had chosen, and had secured the services of a clergy person to officiate in an on the beach ceremony. When we arrived at the town hall we were warned that Romney had ordered that a never-used law designed to prevent miscegenation was to be dusted off and used against gay couples, from outside of the Commonwealth, who applied for a marriage license. This never used law said that if your own State did not recognize your marriage, it would be illegal for you to be married in MA.
    Since the law was not being enforced as of this day, we were advised to travel to another town where a probate court was located to obtain a waiver on the waiting period. We did so. We had to scrap our plans for the beach-side wedding, and were married immediately by a Justice of the Peace in the back yard of her home.

    Romney issued his order that the odious law should be enforced. He ordered that the marriages of any out of state same sex couples were not to be recorded in Boston. He ordered further that copies of the records of these marriages be sent to his office where they were to be examined for irregularities, which if found, would lead to the arrest of those involved.

    During this period this small-minded vindictiveness was set against about 25 couples. There was definite intimidation used, threats of arrest, telephone calls to newspapers, and then follow-up from reporters to our families in which the possibility of arrest was mentioned.

    Our marriages were recorded at the Provincetown Town Hall, but were not recorded in Boston until Romney was gone and Governor Patrick was in office. The marriages were then recorded and received validation by the Commonwealth.

    It was my first hint of Romney’s virulent homophobia and his willingness to use bullying tactics to have his way. Since then, we have all seen other examples.

    Age hasn’t improved him. It is totally beyond my ken as to how any person from the GLBT community could possibly support this man or his cronies.

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