Beginning July 1, parents in Wisconsin may choose gender-neutral terms for themselves on their newborn’s birth certificate, Gov. Tony Evers announced this week.
In addition to the “mother-father” designation, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has added the “parent-parent” designation on its birth certificate forms.
In his announcement earlier this week, Evers, a Democrat, said the addition of gender-neutral terminology is part of the state’s ongoing effort to incorporate transgender language in its governmental documents.
“This change reflects my and my administration’s commitment to gender-neutral terminology and to recognizing that Wisconsin families are diverse and should be valued and respected,” Evers said in a statement on Monday.
“I am glad to see this change being made as we continue to update our state policies and procedures to better reflect the Wisconsinites we serve,” he added. On June 1, Evers signed an executive order directing state agencies “to use gender-neutral language” in external communications as well.
The revised birth certificate applications, which are available in three languages: English, Spanish and Hmong, also include the term “parent giving birth” instead of “mother.”
Wisconsin DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said revising the state’s birth certificate forms helps make “Wisconsin a more inclusive, equitable and just state.”
“This update ensures our LGBTQ Wisconsinites are seen and heard when welcoming a child into the world,” Timberlake said in a statement.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said Evers’ “ludicrous agenda is being pushed by those who often claim to ‘follow the science’—except when it comes to human biology.”
“This is absurd,” Perkins continued. “It used to be the children who played make-believe—now it’s Democratic leaders like Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers who are pretending that biological sex doesn’t matter when it comes to raising children. The birth certificate is a document that matters. We are already seeing the ramifications of this war on reality, as it bleeds over into education, public health, and every other aspect of life. We are already seeing where this kind of pretending leads—a federal budget where mothers are replaced with the term ‘birthing people.’ This is a denial of nature.”
Evers proclaimed on Twitter: “As we celebrate #Pride, @DHSWI and I are excited to announce that, starting Thursday, Wisconsin parents will have a gender-neutral option for parents. This change reflects our continued commitment to recognizing that every family deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Rep. Gae Magnafici, the Republican chairwoman of the Assembly Family Law Committee, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the governor’s birth certificate revisions denigrate mothers.
“As the Assembly chair of Family Law, a nurse, and a mom, I am insulted. I’m calling on Governor Evers to stop downplaying womanhood, stop downplaying motherhood, and stop downplaying settled science,” Magnafici said.
On June 24, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law allowing residents to identify their sex as “female,” “male,” or “X” on their driver’s licenses and birth certificates. The new law goes into effect 180 days from the governor’s signing.
Under the new law, called “The Gender Recognition Act,” New Yorkers won’t have to publish their name change, address, birth place and birth date in a newspaper, which the current law requires within 60 days of a name change.
The new law permits the sealing of sex designation papers because of the risk of violence or discrimination. It also prohibits courts from requiring individuals to notify federal immigration authorities about their sex designation change.
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