U Memo 11-7

Posted on Oct 13, 2010 in Informal Opinions - UIPA Opinions

U Memo 11-7
October 13, 2010
Vital Records

Requester asked whether the Office of Health Statistics, Department of Health (DOH), properly denied Requester’s request for a certified copy of the Certificate of Live Birth for Barack Hussein Obama II (Obama Birth Certificate) under part II of the UIPA.

Requester asked for a copy of the Obama birth certificate citing the provision of Hawaii’s vital statistics law that makes vital records confidential, but permits copies to be provided where DOH is satisfied that the requester has a direct and tangible interest in the record, such as a “a person having a common ancestor with the registrant.” HRS § 338-18(b)(5). The Requester claimed a common ancestor of either Noah or Adam from Biblical reference or the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) from scientific theory. DOH denied access, applying HRS § 338-18(b)(5) to limit common ancestors to those shown by verifiable vital records, and rejecting a construction that included all of humankind.

OIP found that DOH’s withholding was proper under HRS § 338-18(b)(5) and HRS § 92F-13(4). HRS § 1-15(3) (under Hawaii law, every construction of the law “which leads to an absurdity shall be rejected.”).