New state legislation would abolish 'birth certificate discrimination'

Feb 8, 2019


New legislation introduced today in Lansing would end what two state lawmakers are calling “birth-certificate discrimination.”

The legislation introduced Thursday by Democratic State Representative Vanessa Guerra and Republican State Representative Steve Johnson guarantees that those individuals “are charged the same amount to receive a copy of their birth records regardless of the marital status of their parents when they were born.”

Under current Michigan law, birth and vital records of anyone born before October 1, 1978 to unmarried parents are unavailable at the county clerk’s office, as Rep> Steve Johnson explains.

“So this was actually an idea that was brought to me by Allegan County Clerk Bob Geneski. When he took over as county clerk, he never knew about this problem, and saw firsthand the individuals that had to deal with this process, and just recognized the discrimination against these individuals had to be stopped, and so he contacted me and right away we started working on this.”

Johnson says, as a result of this discrimination, “have a more cumbersome process of going to the state, and costing them more money because of the circumstances in which they were born.”

“And what this says is, when this individual goes to their county clerk, they find out their birth certificate is not there, but is at the state, they do not have to pay the state fee.”

The bill next goes to the Family, Children and Seniors Committee for further consideration.