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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 2, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 40
Email surprise: Clinton feared political backlash over gender-neutral passports
Section One
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Email surprise: Clinton feared political backlash over gender-neutral passports

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Just-released emails from 2011 show that Hillary Clinton - who was then U.S. Secretary of State - opposed issuing gender neutral passports because she feared the political backlash in Congress.

Following recommendations from the Obama White House, Clinton's State Department subordinates proposed replacing the terms 'mother' and 'father' on the passports of children of same-sex couples with the gender neutral terms 'parent one' and 'parent two.'

Under the old rules, a same-sex couple would have had to cross out one of the terms, or the passport would have listed a male 'mother' or a female 'father.'

In a January 8, 2011, email Clinton exploded at her State Department colleagues.

'Who made the decision that State will not use the terms 'mother and father' and instead substitute 'parent one and two'?' Clinton wrote.

'I'm not defending that decision, which I disagree w and knew nothing about, in front of this Congress. I could live w letting people in nontraditional families choose another descriptor so long as we retained the presumption of mother and father.

'We need to address this today or we will be facing a huge Fox-generated media storm led by [Sarah] Palin et al.'

Cheryl Mills, Clinton's chief of staff at the time, responded, 'Reaching out to folks to find out.'

The State Department ended up dropping the proposed change.

In December 2011, Clinton delivered her historic speech in support of LGBT rights at a U.N. meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after which public support for LGBT people became a hallmark of her tenure as Secretary of State.

She endorsed the idea of marriage equality in 2013.

In a September interview, Clinton explained her slow evolution on complete legal equality by referring to the conservative values of her family when she was growing up.

'I was not raised to even imagine this,' she said, 'and I'm thrilled now that it is the law of the land - I have a lot of good friends who are now able to be married because of the changes we've made legally and constitutionally.'

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