Although it’s 2019 and there’s truly no such thing as a “typical” family, some institutions seem to be behind the times on getting hip to perfectly acceptable modern practices, such as having a baby without being married. How scandalous!
When Canadian couple Kirstin Howell and her fiancé, Greg Moss, welcomed their son, Milo, they filled out the standard live birth form while at the hospital where they delivered their baby. Perhaps because unmarried couples face a lot less flak for having babies these days, they were shocked when, six weeks later, Kirstin received a letter in the mail from the Nova Scotia Department of Vital Statistics. It said they’d need her to fill out a form indicating who the father of her baby was because she was an “unmarried mother,” and this parent declaration form would have to be signed in front of a witness, such as the division registrar of births, a notary or a justice of peace, CBC News reported.
Despite Greg’s information being on the original registration form, the letter stated that if they don’t submit the “unmarried mother” form by Dec. 1, his information will be taken off of the original registration. As if two parents of a newborn have time to go declare information they’ve already declared in front of a certified witness; the new mom and dad were rightfully outraged.
“I feel like it’s 1962 instead of 2019,” Kirstin told CBC News. “I think it sends the message that it’s shameful to be unmarried and that I’m not to be trusted to state who the father is on my child’s birth record.”
The archaic rule has come under fire in recent years, according to Krista Dewey, the deputy registrar general. There is only one space to sign on the original registration form, and married couples are legally allowed to provide one signature, but unmarried couples need the double-verification. According to the Canadian Vital Statistics Act, a child is considered “illegitimate” if born to unmarried parents. There is currently pending legislation to update the act and remove this language.
And for Canadian parents, that’s huge.
“Other people might think well this is just a small thing, but it’s just another form of discrimination toward women, toward people who choose to have different families,” Kirstin said.