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Should Children Be Allowed More than Two Legal Parents?

A state bill designed to protect child security passed the state assembly this week.

Is three a crowd anymore? State Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco doesn’t think so.

His bill, which passed the state Assembly earlier this week, would allow courts to recognize more than two legal parents, reported the Bay Citizen.

“This legislation gives courts the flexibility to protect the best interests of a child who is being supported financially and emotionally by those parents,” state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, who authored the bill, in a statement. “It is critical that judges have the ability to recognize the roles of all parents, especially when a family is in distress and a child’s security is a concern.”

The bill would cause less legal confusion in a situation when three people fit the accepted definition of a parent, for example, when a woman has a child with a man and then marries someone else who raises the child as his or her own but the biological father is still involved, according to Shannon Minter, the legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which supports the bill. 

“It’s sad that one parent has to be left out in the cold. You can’t put that child on your health insurance if you’re not a real parent,” Minter said. “The child can’t get Social Security benefits if that person dies. The person can’t make emergency medical decisions for the child. It hurts kids in significant ways, and it would be helpful for courts to recognize those families.”

There are other states that already give courts the ability to recognize more than two parents, including Delaware, Maine, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

The bill is set to head to the Senate for another vote.

Should the courts be allowed to recognize more than two legal parents? Let us know in the comments.

Jim C September 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM
"Yes, it's in the child's best safety?" Really?
Claire Felong September 02, 2012 at 08:03 PM
With more than 50% of marriages ending in a divorce, this should be a no-brainer. If the step-parents are taking responsibility and being supportive of the natural parent/spouse, they need the ability to act legally in the child's behalf in many situations when the birth parent is working, sick, etc. If we are to be our brother's and sister's keepers, then our legal rights must keep up to allow us to do so in our litigious society.
Bren September 02, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I can't wait for the homophobics to get a hold of this story and start bleating about how it's going to weaken the notion that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Andrew Peceimer September 02, 2012 at 11:36 PM
How about no parents? Kids are adults and the goverment will resolve all disputes! Everyone is a winner. 13th place even gets a trophy!
JDavis September 03, 2012 at 05:43 AM
@ sister madly: Agreed, primarily based on the distinction between legal parent and legal guardian. Curious: if plural legal parents are allowed, then does that also mean that leaves room for plural custody arrangements? Seems more like this is for the convenience of the adults and not necessarily in the best interest of the child. There are other, less formal ways to ensure a child's "safety" is the primary consideration without adding more "legal" parents to the mix.

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