Parent No. 1? + Parent No. 2? = New(Speak) Families?

According to recent news from the State Department, passports for children will no longer refer to a child’s mother and father, but will rather refer to parents in purely gender neutral terms only.  

The Washington Post reports, “The State Department has decided to make U.S. passport application forms ‘gender neutral’ by removing references to mother and father, officials said, in favor of language that describes one's parentage somewhat less tenderly. The change is ‘in recognition of different types of families,’ according to a statement issued just before Christmas that drew widespread attention Friday after a Fox News report.”
Amid this change lies an undertone that such an alteration is not an ideal one to make regarding families, as the Post also reports that, “[t]he announcement of the change was buried at the end of a Dec. 22 news release, titled ‘Consular Report of Birth Abroad Certificate Improvements,’ that highlighted unrelated security changes.”  Why would the State Department bury such news?  When something is hidden like this is that an indication that there must be some apparent or latent dishonor or embarrassment associated with it?  Some change that is not to be well received by many?  This surreptitious announcement, however, does not escape review.  You can read the entire Washington Post article here http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/07/AR2011010706741.html.

Could an innocent reader view this change in language, and the attempt to secret those changes an indirect blow to the American family? Or as further evidence of the continued breakdown and/or watering down of the meaning of family? Liberty University Law Review recently published a piece by Professor Kohm written precisely on this topic, comparing such language alterations to George Orwell’s “NewsSpeak” language of 1984.  You can read that piece at 4 Liberty U. L.Rev. 593 (2010).  This type of effort toward a family ‘newspeak’ can only hinder, rather than foster, family restoration. 

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