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California bill would expand number of parents, change family

Published: Monday, July 9 2012 11:07 a.m. MDT

A bill being considered in California would take what critics are calling a "more the merrier" approach to parenting. Proponents say it mirrors the real world.

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A bill being considered in California would take what critics are calling a "more the merrier" approach to parenting, leaving behind traditional family math that says a child had two parents.

The sponsor of SB 1476, Sen. Mark Leno, told the Sacramento Bee "the bill brings California into the 21st century."

Critics say it would open the door to "radical new families." In explaining the measure, jdjournal.com noted it "offers the chance of radical social engineering and reform."

Leno said most kids have two parents, but some have more than that. "And according to him, confining parenthood only to two persons neglects the emotions and contributions of other persons who, in a modern world, should also be held in equal status with parents," explained the article in the Employment Research Institute's jdjournal.com. The measure, if passed, would allow parent-child relationships with more than two parents and give legal standing to those relationships.

The bills says it would "in the case of a child with more than two legal parents, require the court to allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including stability for the child.”

According to the Sacramento Bee article, there are several possible options that would comprise three-parent families:

• "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."

The Daily Mail notes the bill was inspired by last year's appellate court case in which a child's biological mom, same-sex partner and the man who had fathered the child during an affair while the female partners were temporarily separated had a dispute over custody of the child.

The article says supporters think the bill "would make it more likely that a child has financial support, health insurance or Social Security benefits." And in heated custody battles, Leno said, "involving two unfit parents, a judge might have greater flexibility to keep a child out of foster care by recognizing the existence of a third or fourth parent."

"More the merrier" is not a proven approach for family, warned Glenn Stanton, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family. “We hear all this celebratory talk about ‘new families,’ but there is no sociological, psychological or medical data showing any of these new family forms have served to the elevate the general physical, mental, educational or developmental well-being of children in any meaningful way.”

"That job is best done for children by their own mother and father," he was quoted by the Christian Post. "And this bill would only take us farther down the trail of more 'experimental families' that fulfill adult desires, but consistently fail our children."

Read more in the Sacramento Bee.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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