The newly elected Attorney General of Virginia, Democrat Mark Herring, reversed his position on gay marriage within two weeks of taking office. He won the election by a very slim margin and part of his platform was supporting the ban. After assuming office, he announced that he could no longer uphold the ban because it violates the equal protection of the law provision as specified in the 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Well, my question is …Then how can it be lawful to treat adopted persons unequally in Virginia by denying them their right to their Original Birth Certificate? A right which every other Virginia born citizen takes for granted. Where does it specify in the 14th amendment that a person can be denied access to his own legal document because his very existence may (or may not) cause embarrassment to those individuals who brought him into the world? That he or she can be discriminated against because he may have been born under less than ideal circumstances? I cannot countenance that the 14th amendment guarantees equality and yet states such as Virginia are considered in compliance when the Division of Vital Records of the Virginia Department of Health can legally exclude certain people from accessing their own birth record. And that, although we had no say in the matter of being given up for adoption, we must forever be denied this vital and essential information about ourselves that every other non-adopted native-born United States citizen takes for granted.
So just as Virginia O’Hanlon, an 8 year old girl from New York City, learned that there really is a Santa Claus, Virginia adoptees know that there is really an Original Birth Certificate. We, like everyone else, were born of flesh and blood individuals and not the individuals who are named on the legal fiction that is our Amended Birth Certificate; which at the present time is the only birth certificate Virginia born adoptees are legally allowed to obtain.
Some may think that our OBCs aren’t important, that we have parents who raised us and that we should be content with having only the legal document which lists their names. But just as many believed there was no Santa Claus, Francis Church, the editor of The Sun, knew better. And, Attorney General Herring, the state of Virginia can also do better for all of its citizens who were born and adopted with no say of their own.
Attorney General Herring, I urge you to apply the same legal principles that caused you to reverse your stance on gay rights to the rights of adoptees. I ask that the legislators of Virginia be the ones to remind us all, once again, that there really is a Santa Claus; by giving Virginia born adoptees the greatest gift ever, unfettered access to their Original Birth Certificates. And I urge this not only of the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also of the other 44 American states, who are not upholding the 14th amendment by denying adoptees the truthful record of their birth.