Bad idea General Assembly should pay no heed to 'birther' proposal

General Assembly should squelch 'birther' proposal

With all the serious work that needs to be tackled in Hartford, it is disappointing that state Sen. Michael McLachlan, a Danbury Republican, wasted his time sponsoring a frivolous bill.

It also is disappointing that some otherwise sensible legislators are supporting that proposed law.

The item in question is Senate Bill No. 391: "An act concerning qualifications to appear as a candidate for president or vice-president on a ballot in this state."

This has nothing to do with controlling the state's projected $3.5 billion deficit, nothing to do with attracting business to Connecticut, nothing to do with creating jobs, nothing to do with improving the quality of life for state residents.

This has everything to do with pandering to a small, right-wing movement to discredit President Barack Obama's qualifications for office by questioning his birthplace.

This is the so-called "birther" movement, and its members have listened to neither truth nor reason.

They maintain that Obama was not born in this country, and even though federal judges dismissed at least two lawsuits to that effect, the effort to discredit persists.

Obama's campaign posted a copy of a Certification of Live Birth, an official document, on the Internet in June 2008 -- showing that Barack Hussein Obama was born at 7:24 p.m. on Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu on the island of Oahu to a Caucasian mother and an African father.

But critics, not letting truth get in the way, still question the certificate's authenticity.

McLachlan's bill would require a presidential and vice presidential candidate to provide an original birth certificate to the Secretary of the State before the candidates' names can appear on a ballot in Connecticut.

We do not see how this is a benefit to the state's residents.

It appears as an obstructionist attempt to keep Obama off the ballot in 2012.

A similar bill raised in Arizona passed that state's House of Representatives last year but died in the Arizona Senate.

Senate Bill No. 391 should not get even that far in Connecticut's General Assembly. It is simply ill-conceived and unneeded.

We call on Republicans and Democrats alike to let this proposed bill wither and to get back to work at setting Connecticut's economy in order.