Washington HB1525 passed the Senate and is on its way to the governor’s desk. If signed, it will promote and continue the state’s sealed records system and deny the right of all Washington adoptees to their original birth certificates. As other state’s restore adoptee rights and open our OBCs, some Washington adoptees will find the right to their OBC subject to the whim of third party approval and comfort and will have no chance of ever getting it. Don’t let this happen! Write directly to Governor Jay Inslee and tell him why HB1525 is bad for adoptees, their families and the State of Washington. Contact information for him is here. (a template for email) There is also information for phone and fax contact at that link. Phone: 360-902-4111 TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388. Fax: 360-753-4110 Email a copy of your note to Insle’s senior polilcy adviser Andi Smith at [email protected] We have only a couple days to get this message to the Governor’s Office. Below is a copy of Bastard Nation’s letter to Governor Inslee sent on April 17. Send us a copy of your letter to comments below, and we’ll post it here.
Dear Governor Inslee: Bastard Nation, the Adoptee Rights Organization, opposes the passage of HB1525 We have submitted both written an oral testimony in opposition to this bill and its SB5118 companion. HB1525 is promoted by sponsors as an “adoptee rights bill” that will allegedly make available to adoptees upon request, a copy of their original birth certificates. Nothing could be further from the truth. HB 1525 does not restore the right of Original Birth Certificate (OBC) access once enjoyed by all persons born and adopted in the state. It make access conditional by segregating the “worthy” adoptee from the “unworthy” by means of an Affidavit of Disclosure/Disclosure Veto and a misnamed “Contact Preference Form.” Briefly:
- The Affidavit of Non-Disclosure/Disclosure Veto (DV) creates and maintains a special third party privilege for birth parents that no one–parent or otherwise in the entire United States–-possesses: to bypass state law and to personally bar the state from releasing another person’s birth certificate to the person to whom it pertains. The current law has permitted DVs for those adopted since 1993, but according to testimony from the Washington State Department of Health and verified by email to our Washington representative Lori Jeske. only four (4) had been filed, in those 20 years, and those were only filed June 2012 , which suggests an attempt to derail last year’s similar legislation.
- The misnamed Contact Preference Form (CPF) in the current legislation serves as the exact opposite of its original and legal purpose and intent. A genuine CPF, passed in other states allows biological parents to voluntarily voice their preference for contact with the adoptee, without any legal ramifications. A “no contact” preference, does not bar release of the OBC; it only serves as a preference for personal contact for the person filing it.
Adopted adults, especially since 9/11, are increasingly denied passports, drivers licenses, pensions, Social Security benefits, professional certifications, and security clearances due to discrepancies on their amended birth certificates, and their inability to produce an original birth certificate to remedy the problems. Proposed changes in passport application regulations will make it literally impossible for some adoptees to ever receive a passport without an accessible paper trial to the OBC. Adoptees without a genuine original birth record could soon be barred from running for public office. Last year, at least 10 states, introduced legislation requiring presidential and vice-presidential candidates to present their original birth certificates to appropriate authorities to prove citizenship eligibility for office. Some of these bills go farther, mandating anyone running for office to prove an identity through an original birth certificate. It is no stretch to think that someday soon adoptees could be barred from voting due to lack of “legal birth certificates.” Should these rights and entitlements be nullified for adoptees because OBC access might make some people “uncomfortable?” Why should the “preference” of four anonymous persons in the state hold the rights of all Washington adoptees hostage? The irony of this is that the birth certificates of of adopted persons are not sealed until the time of adoption finalization, and if a child is not adopted, the OBC remains open and available to the relinquished-for-adoption person. If the adoption is disrupted or voided, the the OBC remains open and available to him or her. Moreover, the Internet and other technologies have made adoption secrecy and anonymity moot. HG1525 is a horrible bill. It is is a greatly damaged bill that does not speak for nor support Washington’s adopted population, nor their biological or adopted families. The bill instead supports special interests and anonymous fear mongers. Within the next few years the OBCs of adopted adults will continue to be unsealed throughout the country. Washington, as a progressive state, should be happy to be in the forefront of change, not lagging behind in a misguided attempt to preserve special privilege over rights. The right to an OBC is not about reunion. It is about the restoration of the civil right of adoptees to acquire their own OBCs upon request. Veto HB1525 It’s the right thing to do! Sincerely yours, Marley Greiner Executive Chair Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization www.bastards.org Bastard Nation is dedicated to the recognition of the full human and civil rights of adult adoptees. Toward that end, we advocate the opening to adoptees, upon request at age of majority, of those government documents which pertain to the adoptee’s historical, genetic, and legal identity, including the unaltered original birth certificate and adoption decree. Bastard Nation asserts that it is the right of people everywhere to have their official original birth records unaltered and free from falsification, and that the adoptive status of any person should not prohibit him or her from choosing to exercise that right. We have reclaimed the badge of bastardy placed on us by those who would attempt to shame us; we see nothing shameful in having been born out of wedlock or in being adopted. Bastard Nation does not support mandated mutual consent registries or intermediary systems in place of unconditional open records, nor any other system that is less than access on demand to the adult adoptee, without condition, and without qualification.