A same-sex couple is causing a stir after discovering that the official Australian passport application forms for children still list traditional “mum” and “dad” roles. Jessica Boyd and her partner Liz Williams were planning a trip with their 5-month-old daughter, when they were offended by the paperwork.
Instead of shrugging it off to the sluggishness of government bureaucracy, Boyd was incensed, stating that the government should make it a priority, and that they weren’t being inclusive to “modern day household structures”:
As a government institution, I am just baffled they don't at the very least update the text on the online form to 'Parent 1' and 'Parent 2', or something like that, as that is so easy to do.
Boyd went on to determine that a person or, in this case, a government department did not need to take an action to be homophobic, but couple be declared so through a lack of action:
It's lazy homophobia. She acted like it wasn't a big deal on the phone… It doesn't seem like a big deal to them, because nobody has stood up and told them it's offensive.
The government responded, saying that they were working on updating the application, allowing parents to choose their relationship to their children:
DFAT is developing a new online application process with updated terminology to reflect the diversity of Australians with parental responsibility.
The new online application process will be available to families in Australia this year. In the meantime, DFAT encourages clients to cross out and over-write parental terms on the hard copy forms to reflect their actual circumstances.
The irony is that the “actual circumstances” are that these babies do have a mum and a dad, whether they are acknowledged or not.
But because it is the politically correct thing to do, the Australian government must now make it a priority to ensure that “mum #2” has an option on the passport application that she does not find offensive. Boyd and Williams are asking government institutions to invest resources to put them at the head of the line. Is this really something that should be top of the government’s ‘to do’ list?