Texas: Bastard Nation Testimony in Opposition to SB 287

Tomorrow the Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee will hold a hearing on SB 287, the newest attempt by legislators to torture that state’s Class Bastard. There are more things wrong with this bill than the special effects in Spiderman. Below is the 3-minute testimony Bastard Nation submitted to the committee.

Texas Senate Jurisprudence Committee, March 22, 2011


SB 287 access to identifying information for adoptions original birth certificate access


Privilege is the opposite of right

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted access for all adopted persons, upon request, of their own true, unaltered original birth certificates (OBC). We oppose SB 287.

SB 287 is egregious in extremis. SB 287 is prospective. It contains a misnamed, linguistically confusing “contact preference form” (which has nothing to do with “preference” or “contact”)that authorizes a natural parent to not only order the state registrar to withhold the OBC from the adoptee, but to override the “preference” of the other parent that it be released. Moreover, treating adult adoptees and their natural parent(s) as children at best, dangerous criminals at worst, SB 287 forces mandatory social service or mental health counseling on both parties simply because they want the OBC released.

SB 287 is a dirty bill.

  • Clean bills, unlike SB 287 with its conditions and restrictions, provides equal OBC access to all adoptees retrospectively and prospectively, with no conditions or exceptions.
  • Clean bills, unlike SB 287, contain no third party disclosure and contact vetoes.
  • Clean bills, unlike SB 287, contain no mandatory counseling, registries, confidential state intermediaries, and other conditions that limit the free flow of information and treat the adopted differently from the not-adopted.
  • Clean bills, unlike SB 287, have nothing to do with search and reunion, matters best left to individuals to act on without state mediation and control.
  • Clean bills unlike, unlike SB 287 with it’s “anonymous” medical registry, have nothing to do with adoptee/parent medical histories. The OBC, in fact, contains no medical information. A state demand for natural parent medical history, as included in SB 287, may be in violation of federal HIPAA provisions.

Clean bills, unlike SB 287 simply let the adopted person receive their own birth certificate with no government intervention, like the not-adopted. A clean bill in Texas, unlike SB 287 would restore the right of OBC access that all Texas adoptees enjoyed until the mid-1970s.

When adoptees are denied the right to their own birth certificates our other rights can be endangered. Since‭ ‬9/11,‭ ‬especially,‭ ‬we are increasingly denied passports,‭ ‬drivers‭’ ‬licenses,‭ ‬pensions,‭ ‬Social Security benefits,‭ ‬professional certification and licenses,‭ ‬and security clearances due to discrepancies on our falsified government-created amended birth certificates,‭ ‬and inability to present true documents sealed by the state to remedy the problems.

Adoptees without a genuine original birth record could soon be barred from running for public office.‭ ‬At least‭ ‬10‭ ‬states, including Texas (HB 295) have 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 citizenship 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” ‬identity over problematic amended birth certificates,‭ ‬and the perpetual sealing of the originals.‭

‭If passed, ‬SB 287 with its restrictions and exclusionary rules, will guarantee that Texas adoptees will never be treated on an equal plane with the not-adopted. If passed, the damage done by SB 287 will take decades–if ever– to untangle.

‭The Texas legislature should take action now to assure that its adopted population is not subjected to public and private scrutiny and discrimination due to birth certificate irregularities and seals; that all Texas adoptees receive equal treatment, protection, and due process ‬Vote DO NOT PASS on SB 287. Kill this bill. Then come back with a clean bill that guarantees that all Texas adoptees will enjoy equal protection, due process, and dignity.

Submitted by Marley Greiner
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: the adoptee rights organization

March 21, 2011

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.

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4 Replies to “Texas: Bastard Nation Testimony in Opposition to SB 287”

  1. Excellent statement, Marley. what could be clearer? I am sure that the mothers’ privacy will be used as an excuse. I am sure that there are legislators who are eager that their early pecadillos remain forever sealed from prying eyes, but I am sick of being the excuse for it being done…we are adults, all of us now, and ca make these decisions for ourselves.

  2. I have no idea where the bill came from, I’ve been told that the AAC also opposes, which doesn’t surprise me. The bill doesn’t even have the look and feel of a deform bill. I don’t know why Texas and some other states just don’t give it up for awhile. There are states that are doable, and others have to wait until they’re “surrounded.”

    I’m sure legislatures hate women with agency who have the gall to pound them with the the pedestals the pols put them on.

  3. Did I misread this bill or does it refer only to adoptions after today? What is that about? What about the ones that will really be affected by these stupid laws, the adult adoptees?

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