Terms ‘mother and father’ removed from birth certificate in UK

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UNITED KINGDOM | SOCIETY

Photo via ccfon.org
Terms ‘mother and father’ removed from birth certificate in UK

Two homosexual activists posed proudly in front of cameras as the first same-sex parents in Britain to jointly sign a birth certificate, reports Christian Concern for our Nation.

Natalie Woods, 38, gave birth to Lily May Betty Woods in Brighton earlier this month through the use of sperm given by a registered donor. Her lesbian partner, Elizabeth Knowles, 47, is named on the certificate instead of the biological father.

The couple were able to take advantage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which came into effect at the beginning of this month. The Act entitles people in same-sex relationships to both be treated as equal parents of a child. Until the law changed, homosexual couples could not put both of their names on a child conceived by a donor.

Neither of the women are described as ‘mother’ on the certificate as the words ‘mother and father’ have been scrapped from some birth certificates—the practice for the past 170 years—and the lesbians are listed as Lily May's ‘parents’ instead.

Miss Woods, who lives with her lesbian partner in Brighton, East Sussex is currently on maternity leave from her job as services manager at the city's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Switchboard, a counselling service.

Stonewall, the homosexual lobby group, welcomed the change in the law and said it was a much needed ‘fairer’ system for homosexuals.

However, the move has outraged pressure groups, who say a child’s birth certificate should accurately reflect their biology and not new political agendas.

Baroness Deech, the chairman of the Bar Standards Board, is an open critic of the rules allowing homosexual couples to sign birth certificates with no mention of the father. She said such a move could undermine the child’s right to understand its identity.

‘There is an issue of principle here, which is the truth,’ she said last month.

‘It puts the demands of the adults ahead of the rights of children to know and benefit from both sides of their genetic makeup. This is not a moral issue; it is about disguising true facts, and it is about confusing biological parenthood, legal and social parenthood.’

Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE), said:

‘Birth certificates should reflect how a baby is generated. In a culture that is obsessed with genetics, it is strange that when it comes to birth certificates we are prepared to forget all that.

‘As much as you try to play around with the terminology, the biology reflects what has happened and one day the child will ask about their father.’

Andrea Minichiello Williams, Director of CCFON, said: ‘It is extraordinary that an Act of Parliament has allowed the truth to be exchanged for a lie. Every child needs a mother and a father to come into this world and every birth certificate should reflect the child’s real parents. This extremely sad state of affairs is taking place at a time when there is an urgent need for greater involvement of fathers in the lives of their children’.

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TAGS: United Kingdom first same-sex parents in Britain birth certificate Stonewall rights of children

[04/29/2010] Print Version

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