An interesting Bill is moving through the California legislature that would grant judges the authority to allow a child to have three or more legal parents. Here’s the information courtesy of Ashby Jones from The Wall Street Journal:
A truism: We are born with two parents. We might pick up another one if one of our parents dies and remarries, but at any given point, the most parents we will ever have is two.
But a California bill moving through the legislature is questioning that notion, as we reported over the weekend. The bill, which could fuel similar legislative efforts in other states, would allow a child to have three or more legal parents in certain circumstances — and only if such a move is “required to protect the best interests of the child.”
The rationale behind the bill: to help address expanding definitions of family and parenthood brought on by same-sex marriage and advances in reproductive technologies.
The bill, authored by state Sen. Mark Leno (pictured), passed the state senate in May and is likely to reach the state’s assembly next month, where it is widely expected to pass. From there, the bill would move to the desk of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who would have 30 days to sign it into law. Mr. Brown hasn’t yet weighed in on the matter.
Statutes in Delaware and the District of Columbia create the possibility for a child having more than two parents in limited situations. And judges in a handful of other states — including Pennsylvania, Louisiana, California and Oregon — have recognized three parents in exceptionally rare scenarios.
But no state has yet passed a law giving judges the explicit authority to do so.
According to its supporters, the bill, known as SB 1476, gives judges another tool to help navigate custody and child-support disputes that are growing more complicated.
“Families are formed in a variety of ways today, and this bill will bring California into the 21st century by recognizing that,” said Mr. Leno.
The legislation’s opponents object on a number of grounds, including that the bill, which contains no upper limit on the number of parents a court could recognize, is likely to spawn unintended consequences.
“If a minor dies, will all five parents have rights to bring wrongful-death claims?” asked Assemblyman Donald Wagner, a Republican who opposes the bill. “Does a child get Social Security benefits if one of his five parents dies? Right now, there’s really no end to these questions.”
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