California Senate Considers Gender Neutral Language for Birth Certificates

By Mitch Kellaway

Originally published on August 15 2014 9:00 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.

Mitch Kellaway