This astonishing change in policy, described by one British lawmaker as "very positive," is the result of Parliament's passage of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act of 2008. The legislation removes the prior requirement that a birth certificate carry the name of a father and a mother. According to the new law, lesbian couples must inform the fertility clinic if they intend to sign the birth certificate as parents. To accommodate the directives in the new law, the British Home Office has instructed that birth certificates now have spaces for the signatures of two "Parents," rather than one for "Father" and one for "Mother."
Such an overt and official attack on the sanctity of the traditional family was opposed by a bloc of Conservative (and a few Labour) members of Parliament (MPs). Iain Duncan Smith, himself a Conservative MP and former head of the party, said of the act, "On the whole, the absence of fathers generally has a detrimental effect on the child." MP Nadine Dorries, also a member of the Conservative party, told the BBC, "If we want to build a stable society, a mother and father and children works as the best model. We should be striving toward repairing and reinforcing marriage. I think this move sends out the exact opposite message."
Predictably, homosexuals and their advocates have called the law "brilliant" and exulted that the change is "fantastically good news." Eve Carlile, herself the lesbian partner of a woman who used fertility treatments to conceive two children, rejoiced in the "equality" of the new law, even though she will not be allowed to amend the birth certificates of her partner's two children as the law will not be retroactive and will apply only to those children conceived after April 6, 2009. Despite the limitations in the law, Ruth Hunt, the head of policy and research for the gay rights advocacy group, Stonewall, told the UK's Guardian newspaper, "Now lesbian couples in the U.K. who make a considered decision to start a loving family will finally be afforded equal access to services they help fund as taxpayers."
Ironically, had the Parliament of the United Kingdom itself made a more considered decision, then such an effrontery as a law bearing the imprimatur of the state that causes irreparable harm to the vitality of the family would never have passed. Or, in the sound and wise words of Labour MP Geraldine Smith, "To have a birth certificate with two mothers and no father is just madness."
Beware, America! Soon we may have just such madness on our own shores as part of the national healthcare proposals being sponsored by those in power on both sides of the aisle and the pond.