Mitt Romney was recently accused of deliberately trying to make it harder for same-sex couples to register the birth details of their children during his time as governor of Massachusetts.
The current Republican presidential candidate, refused a proposed alteration to birth certificates to accommodate new same-sex parents back 2003, in a battle which went on throughout his term as governor.
Two years after his blocking the change, in 2005, Mitt Romney made a speech to voters in South Carolina, and said:
“Some gays are actually having children born to them,’’ he said, “It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.”
The Registry of Vital Records and Statistics had proposed the change, which would have meant that birth certificates displayed, instead of “father,” for example, it would read, “father or second parent,” The Boston Globe reported.
The change was proposed in order for the procedure on birth certificates to line up with then recently legalised equal marriage law.
Once he blocked the change, hospital officials and town clerks were obliged to win approval from then Governor Romney’s lawyers, in order to be allowed to cross out the word “father” and hand-write the words “second parent.”
Back in 2004, Mr Romney expressed his reasons for doubting the necessity for the change in an address to the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington. He said:
“The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother,’’ Romney said in his prepared remarks. “What should be the ideal for raising a child? Not a village, not ‘parent A’ and ‘parent B,’ but a mother and a father.’’
“Scientific studies of children raised by same-sex couples are almost nonexistent,’’ he said. “It may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole.’’
The same year, the Massachusetts association of town clerks complained publicly about the absence of the updated forms, but Mr Romney’s office responded saying it had not been changed because it would require an act of the state legislature.
The practice of having to cross-out and hand-write that section of the form continued throughout Mr Romney’s term as Governor, despite warnings from a Department of Public Health lawyer, who said that it put the children of same-sex couples at “an unfair disadvantage.”
The necessity to hand write the form constituted “violations of existing statutes’’ and harmed “the integrity of the vital record-keeping system,’’ said Peggy Wiesenberg, deputy general counsel of the department, in a confidential memo to Mr Romney’s office, back in 2004.
“The race, religion, or sexual orientation of parents should not matter,’’ he 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.’’
The alteration to the birth certificates came after the end of Mr Romney’s term.