A member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet and his partner have acquired two babies. Pete Buttigieg, a former presidential rival and now Secretary of Transportation, and Chasten Buttigeig welcomed Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to their family. They will be one of the world’s highest profile gay-parent households.

First lady Jill Biden shared his tweet and gushed: “Congratulations to you and Chasten! Welcome to parenthood!”

“As parents, they will now shine a national spotlight on LGBTQ families, who often face daunting challenges because of outdated policies that narrowly define what families are,” said Annise Parker, the president of the Victory Institute, a group which gives professional development to aspiring LGBTQ politicians.

Details of the arrangement are sketchy. Chasten Buttigieg told the Washington Post earlier in the year that they were seeking to adopt a child but had been unsuccessful.

But the couple’s statement did not make it clear that they had actually adopted the children, leaving open the possibility that they had employed a surrogate mother. The fact that the family photo which they posted on social media appears to have been taken in a hospital setting suggests that the mother was a surrogate.

Whether the children are biological twins born to a woman who agreed to an adoption or whether one of the two men is the biological father and the mother a surrogate, the children will have to be legally adopted. So, technically, the word “adoption” is correct in either case.

However the babies were acquired, the biological and/or gestational mother has been erased, not just from the glowing publicity radiating from the hospital room, but from the babies’ lives. 

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.