The US education department has been criticised for replacing the terms ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with ‘parent 1’ and ‘parent 2’ on its student loan forms.
The change to the student federal aid form is supposed to accommodate children brought up by gay parents.
But critics say the move is “deeply offensive”.
Cathy Ruse, of the Family Research Council which campaigns for traditional marriage, said: “I carried my children for nine months in my womb, I endured the pain (and joy) of birth, I nursed them for many months after they were born, and every morning they jump into my bed screaming, ‘Mommy!'”
“But the federal government says I’m Mommy no more. I am Parent 1. Or maybe Parent 2. Mr. President, I dare you to tell my daughters I’m not their mother.”
The changes are to be brought in for the 2014-2015 student aid form.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement: “All students should be able to apply for federal student aid within a system that incorporates their unique family dynamics”.
He also said the change to the form will help the department calculate federal student aid more precisely, “as well as provide an inclusive form that reflects the diversity of American families.”
The Department of Education said in a press release that for the first time it will “collect income and other information from a dependent student’s legal parents regardless of the parents’ marital status or gender, if those parents live together.”
It said the new form will not use “gender-specific terms like ‘mother’ and ‘father.'”
Some states in America have legalised gay marriage, but the Supreme Court is currently deciding whether marriage will be redefined for the whole country.
Under Scottish Government plans to redefine marriage, the words ‘mother’ and ‘father’ will be dropped from matrimonial law.
Official consultation documents which accompany the Scottish Government’s draft Bill spell out the changes to terminology.
Where current matrimonial law refers to ‘mother’ and ‘father’, the Scottish Government plans for legislation to use the gender–neutral term ‘parent’.