Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that will allow children in California to have more than two legal parents, a measure opposed by some conservative groups as an attack on the traditional family, the Los Angeles Times reports
“Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) said he authored the measure to address the changes in family structure in California, including situations in which same-sex couples have a child with an opposite-sex biological parent.
“The law will allow the courts to recognize three or more legal parents so that custody and financial responsibility can be shared by all those involved in raising a child, Leno said.
“Courts need the ability to recognize these changes so children are supported by the adults that play a central role in loving and caring for them,” Leno said. “It is critical that judges have the ability to recognize the roles of all parents so that no child has to endure separation from one of the adults he or she has always known as a parent.”
“The bill was partially a reaction to a 2011 court decision involving a lesbian couple that briefly ended their relationship, according to Leno’s office. One of the women was impregnated by a man before the women resumed their relationship. A fight broke out, putting one of the women in the hospital and the other in jail, but the daughter was sent to foster care because her biological father did not have parental rights.
“Everyone who places the interests of children first and realizes that judges shouldn’t be forced to rule in ways that hurt children should cheer this bill becoming law,” said Ed Howard, senior counsel for the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law.
“SB 274 was opposed by advocates for traditional families, including Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, who said Friday he was disappointed by the governor’s action.
“This is in the long run going to be a mistake,” Dacus said. “The ones who are going to pay the price are not the activists, but it’s going to be children, who will see greater conflict and indecision over matters involving their well-being.” Dacus said having more than two legal parents will create the potential for greater conflict over what is best for a child and result in more complicated court fights.
“Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, and his representatives did not return calls for comment on what changed his mind.”