CRANBERRY TWP — When Butler County Controller Ben Holland got his son's birth certificate in the mail in September, one thing jumped out at him right away.
“It says 'parent' and 'parent,'” Holland said. “I just immediately knew something was wrong. So I went to our important documents. I pulled mine and my wife's. Both said 'mother' and' father.'”
Holland then reached out to his state representatives, Rep Daryl Metcalfe, R-12th, and Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-21st, about the change, which he calls wrong and concerning.
“It's bothersome to my wife and I because how can you ignore the science?” Holland said. “Every child biologically has one mother and one father.”
Metcalfe responded to him and penned a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf that 26 other state lawmakers signed, in response to what Metcalfe claims is the unlawful replacement of “mother” and “father” with “parent” on state-issued birth certificates.
In the letter, which was sent Thursday, Metcalfe writes that the change is in violation of the law because it happened without action by the state's General Assembly. He requested that the changes be rescinded.
Metcalfe writes that the Bureau of Vital Records made the change after it anticipated a lawsuit brought on by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In addition to being illegal, Metcalfe wrote, the changes had a “significant fiscal impact on the bureau” and a change back to “mother” and “father” on the form would “cost the department millions of dollars.”
Metcalfe said in an interview he did not know about the change to the birth certificate forms until Holland brought it to his attention. He said it's another instance where the state's executive branch violated the law by acting like the legislative branch, and called it “ludicrous” that money was spent making the changes.
“This administration feels they can violate the law over and over again without being held accountable,” he said.