Three Parent Law in California Aims to Allow a Child More Legal Parents

A new bill proposed in California could allow kids in the state to have more than two legal parents, a move that increasingly makes sense as our definition of family evolves.

But, as we all know, not all are supportive of the recognition of different sorts of family — and despite being a rather benign proposal, by the by, there seems to have been a knee-jerk reaction equating the proposal of three dads or two dads and a mom or two moms and a dad or three moms as a first step down the slippery slope to legalized turtle marriage.

One of the best ruminations on California’s proposed three-parent law came via US Catholic, urging caution when rushing to judgment about destruction of the traditional family. The site quotes Rod Dreher of the American Conservative, who’d foamed at the mouth predictably:

“This is an attempt to accommodate the radical irregularities in modern childbearing practices (surrogacy, etc.). What would this law teach us? That there is no such thing as the natural family — that family is whatever we say it is.”

TURTLE MARRIAGE, PEOPLE. But US Catholic sympathetically raises some excellent counterpoints, noting that the proposal is not all about hot gay affairs closet conservatives are jealous they’re not having. The site raises three potential three-parent scenarios, all of which seem as if they could benefit from a legal clause allowing three legal parents:

  • A family in which a man began dating a woman while she was pregnant, then raised that child with her for seven years. The youth also had a parental relationship with the biological father.
  • A same-sex couple who asked a close male friend to help them conceive, then decided that all three would raise the child.
  • A divorce in which a woman and her second husband were the legal parents of a child, but the biological father maintained close ties as well.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the bill — known as SB 1476 — will not aim to change how a parent is legally defined, only allow for a child to have more parents under the law.