Heather Has Two Mommies and a Daddy

“And baby makes three” may need an update.

California legislators are considering giving judges the leeway to declare more than two adults as the legal parents of a child. The Sacramento Bee explains SB 1476, introduced by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco:

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.

The bill was inspired by a court case involving a child with two moms. When one mom was sent to prison and the other mom ended up in the hospital, the child’s biological father stepped forward and offered to take care of her. But the law currently states that a child can only have two parents, regardless of gender combination. Instead the child was taken by the state, according to MSNBC.

The religious right “traditional values” response is as expected: “blah blah NO GAY MARRIAGE blah blah,” even though the law could also come into play in complex heterosexual relationships.

Other objectors are more concerned that allowing for a third (or more) legally recognized parent could cause a whole host of other legal problems:

Opponents counter that the issue is complex and that allowing multiple parents in one section of law inevitably raises questions that could spark litigation in other sections.

Tax deductions, citizenship, probate, public assistance, school notifications and Social Security rights all can be affected by determinations of parenthood, notes the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.

"This bill, in our opinion, if passed, will cause significant unintended consequences," said Diane Wasznicky, the group's president and a family law attorney in Sacramento.

Assemblyman Donald Wagner, an Irvine Republican who opposes SB 1476, noted it could spark litigation, say, in a case of a wrongful death of a child with four potential parents and determining who has a claim.

Karen Anderson, of the California Protective Parents Association, said the legislation could result in a child being bounced among multiple adults in a bitter family breakup.

"It's hard enough for children to be split up two ways, much less multiple ways," she said.

Well, that’s the first time I’ve seen lawyers complain that a new law might result in them getting more work.

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  • ||

    The religious right “traditional values” response is as expected: “blah blah NO GAY MARRIAGE blah blah,” even though the law could also come into play in complex heterosexual relationships.

    So freakin idiotic. So it's better to let the government take the kid than a loving parent? Wake up, righties!

  • ChicagoTom||

    So freakin idiotic. So it's better to let the government take the kid than a loving parent? Wake up, righties!

    Queers and straights who help queers have kids can't be loving parents. By Definition. Duh!

    And something or another regarding bestiality as well.

    FAMILY VALUES!!!111Eleven!!

  • Alan||

    No kidding. This guy steps forward and says he'll take care of his biological child - and the state says, "No, we'd rather pay someone else to do it."

    WTF?

  • ||

    But yeah, this is just a gateway drug to polygamy.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's the word that popped into my head.

    So what happens when a Mormon has been elected president and polygamy has been legalized? Hijinks ensue!

  • tarran||

    Polygamy isn't the problem.

    Just think what happens when the tax code runs up against line marriages.

    MHA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Hulk smash!

  • Bill||

    Finally a reason to vote for Romney?

  • daveInAustin||

    Is is really the only option to send the kid to a parent or foster care? Is it not possible for the parents to declare a temporary guardian in the case where "both" parents are unable to care for the child? The guardian could be an aunt or an uncle, or a biological father.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? Why do you hate the state, Austinian Dave?

    I find this disturbing, as I always figured my brother and his wife were the automatic back-up parents, not the state.

  • R C Dean||

    Oh, go ahead and let them pass the law. Once you have a bunch of people who are all legal parents to one kid, its going to be really hard to tell them they can't all marry each other.

    And I can hardly wait to see the gay marriage crowd oppose polygamy by parroting all the arguments against gay marriage that they ridiculed.

  • A Serious Man||

    If it was okay for Tom Selleck, then it should be okay for America.

    And did any of you see the sunrise this morning?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I loved that episode. Or episodes--think it was a two-parter. Fucking Ivan.

  • A Serious Man||

    I've only seen a few episodes of Magnum PI, but I watched that particular one after Archer did this awesome parody of it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Excellent. I really need to watch that show.

  • Virginian||

    It's one of the best shows on TV right now.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Awesome.

  • Spartacus||

    Opponents counter that the issue is complex...

    If only this would be a deterrent to legislation more often. It actually should be an argument for giving more leeway to individual cases, not less.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Just the first step down the slippery slope to robosexual relations.

  • mr lizard||

    This is also a great opportunity to saddle mild hunters with step-child support payments.

  • mr lizard||

    Grrrr stoopid auto correct, I meant milf hunters...serial milf hunters to be more specific.

  • NL_||

    The tax deduction thing is a red herring here. The IRS polices that game already. If you have the kid over 50% of the year, the deduction is yours - unless you sign a waiver and assign the deduction to somebody else.

    No need for a tax rule change. Only one person (or one couple filing together) can claim a given kid.

  • NL_||

    Also, could be wrong, but I think the rules on waiving the deduction for the benefit of somebody else is basically limited to a non-custodial parent. So pretty limited opportunities for gaming, aside from giving the tax benefit to the high-income noncustodial parent (who splits the tax benefit in the form of child support payments to the low-income custodial parent).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So, is everyone on board for this glorious new law, or I do I have to start burning some haters at the stake?

  • AlgerHiss||

    Why stop at 3? Hell....what's wrong with 5 or 6 parents. Maybe 11?

  • 0x90||

    "Other objectors are more concerned that allowing for a third (or more) legally recognized parent could cause a whole host of other legal problems..."

    I believe Shere Khan made some similar arguments.

  • Susie||

    I was the extra mommy. My stepson lived in my home from the time he was 2 1/2. His mother was in jail and then mental hospitals at the time. When my stepson was 11 his father was killed in an accident. The courts ruled that I had no legal relationship with him. He is now 25. I have not seen him or heard from him since he was 11. Clearly it's time for a change.

  • Scott Grossman||

    Susie, your situation is terrible but was also preventable. If the biological mother agreed to give up her parental rights then adoption would have been an option. If not then your husband still could have nominated you to be your stepson's guardian upon his death.

  • Alan||

    There's certainly room to change the law - but Susie's situation could also have been resolved if her stepson had been allowed to make his own choice about where to live. This isn't so easy with very small children, but once a child is four or five years old, and certainly by the time they are nine or ten, why can't they have a say in such a big decision for themselves?

    Children have fewer rights in this country than they did 200 years ago.

  • Ymmarta||

    Parents have fewer rights as well.

  • ||

    Tom Selleck is so angry, he pissed himself.

  • General Woundwart||

    that babie is hot

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