Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Candidate Wants To Replace ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ With ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’ On All State Documents

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Should state documents use the words “mother” and “father”?

Or should the Commonwealth of Massachusetts stop using the terms and instead use a gender-neutral alternative?

If one Massachusetts Democrat running for lieutenant governor has it her way, that will happen.

That’s because state Representative Tami Gouveia (D-Acton) filed a bill (S.2012) that would replace “mother” and “father” with “parent 1” and “parent 2” on all state documentation. The bill is called “An Act Requiring Equality in State Documents.”

Gouveia is one of the bill’s five co-sponsors. The bill was filed by state Senator Hariette Chandler (D-Worcester). The bill’s other three co-sponsors include:  state representatives Kay Khan (D-Newton), Lindsay Sabadosa (D-Northampton), and democratic socialist Erika Uyterhoeven (D-Somerville).

Here is the portion of the bill that calls for this change:

No later than six months after the passage of this act, the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth shall produce guidelines, hereinafter referred to as “the guidelines,” regarding gender appropriate language to use to reference gender on Agency forms and documents. Such guidance shall include in the elimination of the terms “mother” and “father” on all state documentation, to be replaced with “parent 1” and “parent 2”. Such guidance shall require that language is gender neutral where possible.


As NewBostonPost has previously reported, some state agencies are voluntarily using “parent 1” and “parent 2” on official government documents, although many are not.

For example, Parent 1 and Parent 2 appear on the Massachusetts Registry of Vital records form for registering at-home births. They also appear on the state’s Juvenile Court Confidential Information Sheet, a form that’s filled out so that the criminal justice system has the contact information for the parents of a juvenile inmate.

Additionally, if someone files a petition to resign as guardian of a minor to the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, that person will also see these terms.

And if a Commonwealth family wants to apply for state-subsidized child care, the family must explain how much money — including government benefits — the family receives.  The form asks for the income of the two parents. It says “Parent #1 Amount” and another column says “Parent 2 Amount.”

The use of “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” has been the subject of controversy in Europe in recent years. In France, public schools have been using the terms instead of mother and father since 2019, something conservatives in the country oppose.  And in Italy, the country replaced mother and father with these gender-neutral terms on its national ID cards for children under 14 years old. 

The bill Gouveia supports received a favorable report from the Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on February 22; it was then referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means. No further action has been taken on the bill. 

Gouveia is one of three Democrats running for lieutenant governor this year. The others are Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and state Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow). Meanwhile, the two Republican candidates for lieutenant governor are former state representatives Leah Cole Allen (formerly of Peabody, now of Danvers), and Kate Campanale (formerly of Leicester, now of Spencer).

Gouveia, Chandler, Khan, Sabadosa, and Uyterhoeven could not be reached for comment on Thursday this week.


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