July 23rd, 2012
California is considering passing a multiple parenting law. This law would allow children to legally have more than two parents. This statute was proposed by State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco. It has already passed the California State Senate and is being considered in the California State Assembly.
Mr. Leno claims that the definition of the American family is evolving. The statute takes into consideration surrogacy arrangements and reproductive techniques that involve multiple individuals and same sex marriages. Mr. Leno has stated “the bill brings California into the 21st century recognizing there are more than Ozzie and Harriett families today.”
Mr. Leno, in an interview with ABC News.com, discussed a situation when an appeals court in 2009 placed a girl in foster care when her legally married parents, who were two lesbians, could not care for her. One of the child’s mothers had been jailed. The other, non biological mother was in a hospital facility. The girl’s biological father fought to be recognized as a parent. She had a relationship with the father, but the court could not recognize him as a parent because she already had two recognized parents. Mr. Leno points out that Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine and the District of Columbia already have statutes recognizing more than two parents
Statute Deals With More Than Same Sex Relationships
Mr. Leno argues with regard to the new law, that it is more inclusive than just involving same sex relationships. He uses as an example in which a man raises a non-biological child with a woman when the child also has a relationship with his biological father. Another example he gives is when a lesbian couple wants to include a male friend who provided sperm for conception as a legal parent for the child. Leno strongly argues it is in the child’s best interest to designate multiple parents to provide financial support, health insurance and other state benefits.
Legal experts are concerned about the issues that would be created by this new California law. Issues involving tax deductions, child support, health insurance, inheritance rights, custody issues, visitation issues, child support and wrongful death situations could be significantly impacted by the situation where a child has three parents.