California Senate Considers Gender Neutral Language for Birth Certificates

If passed, the new law would allow LGBT parents more freedom in describing their relationships to their children.

BY Mitch Kellaway

August 15 2014 8:00 AM ET

California lawmakers are considering a bill this week that would make birth certificates more LGBT parent friendly, reports the East Bay Express.

If passed, AB 1951 — which was introduced in February by Assembleymember Jimmy Gomez and is cosponsored by Equality California — would require the California Department of Public Health to alter the information parents fill out on a newborn's birth certificate. The proposed new language would read "Name of Parent" instead of "Name of Mother" and "Name of Father."

Alongside their name, a parent would then mark the most appropriate box to describe their relationship to their child: "Mother," "Father," or, simply, "Parent." Supporters have pointed out that this language also allows transgender and gender variant parents a means to select the most accurate representation of themselves.

The current, restrictive wording has forced some same-sex parents to inaccurately describe their familial roles, with lesbian mothers signing on as a "Father," gay fathers signing on as a "Mother," or transgender parents sometimes choosing gendered language that doesn't match their identity.

If AB 1951 passes the Senate this week, it will go into effect as of 2016.

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