California’s “multiple parents” bill is a bad idea for children

08.17.2012, 1:30 PM

Law professor and FamilyScholars blogger John Culhane and I have a piece that just went up at HuffPost:

When it comes to parenting, three’s a crowd. SB 1476, the “Parent-Child Relationships” bill introduced by state senator Mark Leno, which seeks to clarify judges’ ability to recognize more than two legal parents for a child, is well-intended but flawed. It has passed the senate and could reach the assembly floor this month. California legislators should not support this bill.

Read on.

(And HuffPost, if you’re reading this, someone from our office is calling you right now to get that byline fixed!)

Update: HuffPost corrected the byline.


3 Responses to “California’s “multiple parents” bill is a bad idea for children”

  1. marilynn says:

    Well, it kind of depends on how you slice it. I think everyone should be identified as the offspring of their genetic parents and that the law should above all else recognize people as being members of their own genetic families BEFORE any other unrelated person can seek legal status as an adoptive or any other kind of parent type person. And that includes women giving birth not being named Mother unless the child is their own offspring..

    So I suppose it would be a reasonable compromise to me if adoptive parents or women who give birth or spouses were the legal guardians with parental authority but the real parents were always regarded as legal parents.

  2. areyouserious says:

    this could be a good thing in several situations. Most importantly with biological dads who are shut out of their children’s lives because the mother was married, or had someone else sign the birth certificate. These men can now have a legal leg to stand on in these situations. The most important thing should be who are the biological parents of a child. We don’t need “presumptions”, we have DNA testing.

  3. marilyn says:

    areyouserious:
    I see this the same way. Currently the families I reunite have no right to legally recognized kinship. People whose birth records are genetically inaccurate or incomplete with regard to the identities of their parents have their freedom and civil liberties compromised in the following ways:

    1. NO RIGHT TO QUALIFY FOR THE FAMILY LEAVE ACT – They don’t qualify for the family
    leave act if they want to take care of a sick relative unless that relationship is
    provable based upon birth records tracing to a common relative.

    2. NO RIGHT TO SPONSOR CITIZENSHIP They cannot aid their siblings in immigrating
    unless that relationship is provable based upon birth records tracing to a common
    relative.

    3. NO RIGHT TO BEREAVEMENT LEAVE – They don’t qualify to take time off work to
    attend the funeral of a relative unless that relationship is provable based upon birth
    records tracing to a common relative.

    4. NO RIGHT TO KNOW THE IDENTITY OF IMMEDIATE RELATIVES – They don’t qualify to
    obtain birth, death and marriage certificates (which can contain critical information
    about their relatives health their names their occupations etc) from their local
    registrars office unless that relationship is provable based upon birth records tracing
    to a common relative.

    5. NO RIGHT TO RECOGNITION AS A RELATIVE DEPENDENT – They don’t have a right to
    be treated as a relative dependent on their relatives tax return if they are being
    cared for by a relative unless that relative has a relationship provable based upon
    birth records tracing to a common relative.

    6. NO RIGHT TO SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH BENEFITS – No right to their genetic parent’s
    social security death benefits if they are still minors when their genetic parents die.
    No right to social security death benefits if they are a permanent dependent of a
    genetic relative unless that relationship is provable based upon birth records tracing
    to a common relative.

    7. NO RIGHT TO BE TREATED AS AN HEIR – No right to be treated as an heir to relatives
    unless that relationship is provable based upon birth records tracing to a common
    relative.

    8. IDENTITY THEFT / FALSE IDENTITY – No right to correct an inaccurate record of their
    identity based upon the parents they originated from.

    9. NOT FREE – Those who are not the offspring of the people named as parents on their
    birth records are not free like everyone else, they were traded or sold or taken out of
    and away from their genetic families to serve as someone else’s child. They don’t
    have the right to recognition as who they really are, the offspring of two specific
    individuals, they have to play the roll of child to the unrelated person named on their
    birth record.

    If their own parents cannot be the only legally recognized parents then allow them to be some of the legally recognized parents. The rights of millions of people would be restored.