UIPA Memo 11-7
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
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.”).