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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Good news from the U.S. State Department and the Family Equality Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE │January 5, 2011
CONTACT: Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director
(202) 276-4311 │jennifer.chrisler@familyequality.org

State Department recognizes same-sex parents with form changes
Family Equality Council applauds new gender-neutral passport and
birth abroad forms

Washington, DC.... To recognize the growing diversity of American families, the U.S. Department of State has announced new, gender-neutral passport and Consular Report of Birth Abroad forms. Effective January 3rd, 2011, the new forms will use the title of “parent” as opposed to “mother” and “father,” better reflecting same-sex and single parents (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/12/153636.htm).

“The updates remove significant challenges for the two million children being parented by lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) parents,” said Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of Family Equality Council, which led the effort to change the forms. “The new forms prevent denial or delays for accessing fundamental aspects of American citizenship, and send a positive message of inclusion in American life for children with same-sex parents. We are grateful to both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for prioritizing this change.”

The change comes as a result of education efforts led by Family Equality Council that illustrated the challenges faced by same-sex parents attempting to secure government documents for their children. “No family should feel the invisibility, frustration and anxiety we faced when applying for our child’s passport as a lesbian couple,” said Stephanie Hazen, mother of 6-year-old Emma Hazen-Disch.

Updating the federal government’s forms to make them more inclusive of LGBT-headed families is consistent with President Obama’s recognition of the diversity of American families. It carries significant tangible and symbolic consequences for same-sex headed families, and increases governmental efficiency by alleviating the needless confusion, delays and denials caused by outdated gender-specific forms.

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The Family Equality Council works at all levels of government to advance full social and
legal equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender families, one million of whom
are raising two million children in the U.S.