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Wisconsin petition pushes for inclusive birth certificate forms

Wisconsin petition pushes for inclusive birth certificate form.
Wisconsin petition pushes for inclusive birth certificate form.(none)
Published: Feb. 14, 2021 at 10:42 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Wisconsin lawmakers are redrafting a bill aiming to make birth certificate forms gender-neutral.

An online petition with nearly 5,000 signatures is urging legislators to make the change.

“I wanted my daughter’s birth certificate to reflect our family and not list my wife as her dad,” Brianna Reese, Wisconsin parent said.

Reese’s baby girl came into the world in May of 2020. Reese was eager to make it official on her daughter’s birth certificate, but she said the form did not include options for same-sex parents.

“So like my wife everything for her got filled in the husband category, which obviously was a little heartbreaking to have to deal with,” she said.

In Wisconsin, when women give birth, they have to fill out a mother’s birth certificate worksheet. The document lists parents as “mother” and “father.” Couples are able to go through a different channel to fill out a new form to change the titles to “parent.”

“It’s sad because there shouldn’t have to be all these hoops,” Reese said.

She explained it took six weeks to make the change official.

“I think that’s the frustrating thing and the thing that really hit home for me is, it’s not equal for everybody,” Jennifer Engeda, who made the petition said.

Engedal is friends with Reese. After hearing about her situation, Engedal started a petition urging lawmakers to make birth certificate forms more inclusive.

“I’m hoping that the Wisconsin state representatives will realize that this is important to the people of Wisconsin, that people care about this issue and that it’s something that needs to be changed,” Engedal said.

Reese said this is about more than just a form. It’s an opportunity to highlight all families are equal.

“I really want to push for not just birth certificates, but all forms to be gender neutral-language because families aren’t just a mom and a dad anymore,” Reese said.

State lawmakers introduced a bill during the 2019-2020 legislative session aiming to change the law, but it died at the end of the session. Representatives are redrafting the bill hoping to introduce it again before June 2021.

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