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Mitt Romney criticized by gay-rights groups

Groups slam candidate for blocking routine birth certificate approvals for same-sex parents

WASHINGTON -- The president of the nation’s largest gay-rights advocacy group criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney Thursday after the Globe reported how, as governor of Massachusetts, he blocked routine recording of births to same-sex parents.

“Mitt Romney has stood before the American people multiple times and said he does not support discrimination against LGBT people – and that is an outright lie,” said Chad Griffin, the president of Human Rights Campaign, a civil-rights group headquartered in Washington. “Denying birth certificates to children is just the latest in a long list of efforts Romney has undertaken to disenfranchise LGBT people.”

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The Romney campaign declined to comment. LGBT stands for ``lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.’’

The Globe reported Thursday that Romney overruled efforts by his own Department of Public Health to change birth certificates after gay marriage was legalized in the state in 2003. The department wanted to feature a box labeled “father or second parent.” Romney refused to allow the change. Instead, he required review of individual births to gay parents by his own top legal staff. Once that special review was complete, hospitals and town clerks were authorized to cross off ``father’’ and write in ``second parent’’ on birth certificates, in pen.

Confidential state records obtained by the Globe showed that a senior Department of Public Health lawyer warned that the handwritten alterations constituted “violations of existing statutes,” impaired law enforcement and security efforts in a post 9/11 world, and could cause children to encounter difficulties later in life as they tried to register for school, obtain a driver’s license or a passport, enlist in the military, or even vote.

The Family Equality Council, another national rights group, also condemned Romney’s actions. “We don’t advocate for candidates. We advocate for families, and we’ve long known of the difficulties that parents who are LGBT had under Governor Romney’s leadership,” said the group’s executive director, Jennifer Chrisler.

Correspondent Murray Waas can be reached at murraywaas@gmail.com.
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