More than two parents

A bill before the California legislature would let children have more than two parents:

State Sen. Mark Leno is pushing legislation to allow a child to have multiple parents.

“The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today,” the San Francisco Democrat said.

Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing society by creating new possibilities for nontraditional households and relationships. . . .

Under Leno’s bill, if three or more people who acted as parents could not agree on custody, visitation and child support, a judge could split those things up among them.

SB 1476 is not meant to expand the definition of who can qualify as a parent, only to eliminate the limit of two per child.

Under current law, a parent can be a man who signs a voluntary declaration of paternity, for example. It also can be a man who was married and living with a child’s mother, or who took a baby into his home and represented the infant as his own.

Leno’s bill, which has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly, would apply equally to men or women, and to straight or gay couples.

Examples of three-parent relationships that could be affected by SB 1476 include:

• A family in which a man began dating a woman while she was pregnant, then raised that child with her for seven years. The youth also had a parental relationship with the biological father.

• A same-sex couple who asked a close male friend to help them conceive, then decided that all three would raise the child.

• A divorce in which a woman and her second husband were the legal parents of a child, but the biological father maintained close ties as well.

SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child’s biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.

via California bill would allow a child to have more than two parents – State Politics – The Sacramento Bee.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    Prediction: this sort of arrangement will become normalized, though not common, over the next fifty years. It will never become a hot-button topic like gay marriage, but instead will be instituted through a slow progression of bills like this one – bills that set up multiple legal parental rights in certain situations.

  • WebMonk

    Prediction: this sort of arrangement will become normalized, though not common, over the next fifty years. It will never become a hot-button topic like gay marriage, but instead will be instituted through a slow progression of bills like this one – bills that set up multiple legal parental rights in certain situations.

  • kerner

    In Wisconsin we have multiple legal theories under which persons other than parents can have some measure of a right to be part of a child’s life. But none of them presume to elevate non-parents to the status of parents.

    How is this going to work when each “parent has a separate household? And what makes anyone think that the number of parents is going to be limited to three? With a little imagination, lawyers will be thinking up all kinds of ways to get their clients classified as “parents”. Ex-spouses, long term boy/girlfriends, step-parents, who has only one of those nowadays?

  • kerner

    In Wisconsin we have multiple legal theories under which persons other than parents can have some measure of a right to be part of a child’s life. But none of them presume to elevate non-parents to the status of parents.

    How is this going to work when each “parent has a separate household? And what makes anyone think that the number of parents is going to be limited to three? With a little imagination, lawyers will be thinking up all kinds of ways to get their clients classified as “parents”. Ex-spouses, long term boy/girlfriends, step-parents, who has only one of those nowadays?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Big Love, anybody?

    Seriously… this is really, really messed up. There is a reason why God gave us the family structure He did, and while I’ve seen God’s grace work in broken family situations, that doesn’t make a broken family a good thing.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Big Love, anybody?

    Seriously… this is really, really messed up. There is a reason why God gave us the family structure He did, and while I’ve seen God’s grace work in broken family situations, that doesn’t make a broken family a good thing.

  • kerner

    Like so many well meaning but silly ideas, this is really the “Full Employment for Lawyers Act”.

  • kerner

    Like so many well meaning but silly ideas, this is really the “Full Employment for Lawyers Act”.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner @ 4 – :) :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kerner @ 4 – :) :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    You’d think that lawmakers in California would have more important things to worry about.
    California was (emphasis on “was”) a great place to grow up as a kid.
    I’m glad I don’t live there as an adult anymore.
    My parents and 3 of my brothers and their families still live there for some reason, which baffles me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    You’d think that lawmakers in California would have more important things to worry about.
    California was (emphasis on “was”) a great place to grow up as a kid.
    I’m glad I don’t live there as an adult anymore.
    My parents and 3 of my brothers and their families still live there for some reason, which baffles me.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    Even a complete pagan can see the fatal flaws in this proposal. Even if we ignore the moral element, this law is just bad/incomplete thinking. I suspect Kerner will prove correct on this one :-)

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com John

    Even a complete pagan can see the fatal flaws in this proposal. Even if we ignore the moral element, this law is just bad/incomplete thinking. I suspect Kerner will prove correct on this one :-)

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Tera-dittos on #4. No limiting criteria on who can be listed? List somebody not involved for generous child support? OK, what about visitation rights for all 25 parents?

    My nickel bet is that if this one passes, it’ll lead to kids petitioning courts to be adopted by a semi-normal family.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Tera-dittos on #4. No limiting criteria on who can be listed? List somebody not involved for generous child support? OK, what about visitation rights for all 25 parents?

    My nickel bet is that if this one passes, it’ll lead to kids petitioning courts to be adopted by a semi-normal family.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I’m wondering whether or not this opens a back door for polygamy.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I’m wondering whether or not this opens a back door for polygamy.

  • Orianna Laun

    It is another way we are trying to redefine the family. It is the logical progression of the things we’ve been taught, and, as Web Monk (#1) said, it will become normalized. I believe it will be more, rather than less, common.
    Hmm, wouldn’t it be refreshing if the idea was something more along the lines of the three parents being the adoptive couple and a birthmother who chose life over death. . . Don’t mind me; I’ merely thinking aloud.

  • Orianna Laun

    It is another way we are trying to redefine the family. It is the logical progression of the things we’ve been taught, and, as Web Monk (#1) said, it will become normalized. I believe it will be more, rather than less, common.
    Hmm, wouldn’t it be refreshing if the idea was something more along the lines of the three parents being the adoptive couple and a birthmother who chose life over death. . . Don’t mind me; I’ merely thinking aloud.

  • Orianna Laun

    Maybe it could eliminate the arguments between children and step-parents: “You’re not my real mon/dad!”
    “Oh yes, I am. The judge said so!”
    Actually, It is another way we are trying to redefine the family. It is the logical progression of the things we’ve been taught, and, as Web Monk (#1) said, it will become normalized. I believe it will be more, rather than less, common.
    Hmm, wouldn’t it be refreshing if the idea was something more along the lines of the three parents being the adoptive couple and a birthmother who chose life over death. . . Don’t mind me; I’ merely thinking aloud.

  • Orianna Laun

    Maybe it could eliminate the arguments between children and step-parents: “You’re not my real mon/dad!”
    “Oh yes, I am. The judge said so!”
    Actually, It is another way we are trying to redefine the family. It is the logical progression of the things we’ve been taught, and, as Web Monk (#1) said, it will become normalized. I believe it will be more, rather than less, common.
    Hmm, wouldn’t it be refreshing if the idea was something more along the lines of the three parents being the adoptive couple and a birthmother who chose life over death. . . Don’t mind me; I’ merely thinking aloud.

  • Pingback: First marriage, now parenting–the redefining continues « Strengthened by Grace

  • Pingback: First marriage, now parenting–the redefining continues « Strengthened by Grace

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @1

    I am skeptical. When more than two parents have legal rights then the mother’s rights are diluted by the competing interests. I don’t really see us as headed in that direction, but it could be that it will only dilute the mother’s responsibility. We are headed in that direction

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @1

    I am skeptical. When more than two parents have legal rights then the mother’s rights are diluted by the competing interests. I don’t really see us as headed in that direction, but it could be that it will only dilute the mother’s responsibility. We are headed in that direction

  • Orianna Laun

    Sorry for posting twice. My wireless sometimes becomes intermittent.

  • Orianna Laun

    Sorry for posting twice. My wireless sometimes becomes intermittent.


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