Emails (excerpted), Chuck Smith, executive director, Equality Texas, Nov. 20, 2012 through Nov. 27, 2012
Nov. 20, 2012
“Texas Values” President Jonathan Saenz appeared on MyFoxAustin last night to speak in opposition to HB 201 filed by Rep. Rafael Anchia relating to the Supplementary Birth Certificate of an Adopted Child.
... his on-air statements are factually incorrect.
Saenz: “This change in the law would affect everyone’s birth certificate.” He even alludes that HB201 would affect the birth certificates of his 3 biological children.
· HB 201 only applies to the Supplementary Birth Certificate of an adopted child. Such a certificate is only issued upon the finalization of a court-ordered adoption ruling. The Supplementary Birth Certificate replaces the original certificate issued at birth. It removes the names of parents who have relinquished their parental rights and replaces them with the child’s legally adoptive parents. It has absolutely no effect on the birth certificates of non-adopted children.
· HB 201 merely allows the Supplementary Birth Certificate to reflect the court-ordered legal adoptive parents, regardless of gender. That would also include a child adopted by a grandparent and relative of the same gender (which frequently occurs in situations where biological parents relinquish parental rights due to substance abuse or incarceration.)
· HB 201 only applies to a Supplementary Birth Certificate issued on or after the effective date of the bill. It is not retroactive.
I hope you will consider fact-checking Mr. Saenz on his on-air comments.
Nov. 27, 2012
The language in HB 201 merely allows the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics to put the names of the adoptive parents on the Supplementary Birth Certificate form.
HB 201 would not change the Supplementary Birth Certificate form itself, which is an administrative function left to the agency.
The only goal of HB 201 is to provide an adopted child a Supplementary Birth Certificate that reflects their legal parents, regardless of the legal parents’ gender.
Nov. 27, 2012
Whether the agency makes any changes to the form is up to them, but it is not required by HB 201.
HB 201 does not mandate gender neutral forms and would not require a change to the form, only a change to whom can be added to the form.
Among the available options, in addition to the ones listed by the agency spokesperson, would be to leave the Supplementary Birth Certificate form alone but instruct BVS employees that is allowable for either gender to be included in either box (ie. A woman could be listed as a “father” and a male could be listed as a “mother”.
Again, the agency could pursue gender-neutral forms, but they would certainly not be required to do so by this legislation. The goal of this legislation remains to provide an adopted child with a Supplementary Birth Certificate that includes both legal parents, regardless of their gender.
Nov. 27, 2012
I can agree with the interpretation that changing only the Supplementary Birth Certificate and not the Certificate of Live Birth could be problematic as it could be used to identify children as adopted.
I don’t agree with the interpretation that the legislation is calling for a gender-neutral form.