A California state legislator has introduced a bill that would allow children to legally have more than two parents.
State Sen. Mark Leno, an openly homosexual Democrat from San Francisco, introduced SB 1476, which would permit judges greater flexibility in cases where three or more people who acted as parents could not agree on custody.
The Sacramento Bee reports the legislation was prompted by an appellate court case last year involving a child’s biological mother, her same-sex partner and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.
Should the new bill be passed, a judge could grant custody or visitation rights to all three.
“The bill brings California into the 21st century,” Leno told the paper, “recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today.”
But Benjamin Lopez of Traditional Values Coalition blasted Leno’s bill as a new attempt to “revamp, redefine and muddy the waters” of family structure.
Radio personality Rush Limbaugh also commented on the story on his program yesterday, alleging the bill is proof of the “slippery slope” argument many traditional marriage advocates have used – contending that redefining marriage based on popular opinion rather than moral authority would open the floodgates to radical new definitions of “family.”
“This is the kind of thing that we used to be mocked for saying could happen someday … back when the family was being redefined,” Limbaugh said, “and remember, when people wanted to start talking about gay marriage, it changed the definition of marriage. I know this is gonna irritate some of you, but I’m going back in time ’cause we made this prediction.”
“Since we’re changing the definition of marriage, what is to prevent three people from getting married? We made this prediction,” he continued. “What if somebody wants to marry their pet dog? Once you change the definition of the word – you know, words mean things.”
“I remember talking about this, and people [countered] with the usual criticism and mocking and scare tactics, ‘fearmongering,’ all this kind of thing,” he concluded. “Here it is. It’s happening. Or at least it’s being considered.”
To clarify how the bill could be put into action, the Bee proposed three hypothetical example relationships that could be affected by SB 1476 if passed:
- If a pregnant woman began a relationship with a second man and raised the child with him, but the child maintained ties with the biological father, a judge could theoretically grant visitation rights to all three “parents.”
- A lesbian couple who asked a male friend to help them conceive could seek parental rights for all three adults.
- A judge could grant partial custody of a child to the mother, her first husband and her second husband.
SB 1476 has garnered the support of several homosexual activists and groups, including co-sponsor Catherine Sakimura of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Leno, in fact, also introduced legislation, passed into law last year, requiring “gay” and lesbian history to be taught in the state’s schools.
Ellen Pontac, a homosexual-rights activist, told the Bee she and her partner, Shelly Bailes, each had two children when they began their relationship 38 years ago. Government, she said, should accommodate changing times.
“I just think that people should be able to create their own lives,” she said.
Leno told Sacramento TV station KCRA the bill is similar to legislation already present in three other states – Delaware, Maine, Pennsylvania – and the District of Columbia.
SB 1476 has already passed through the California Senate and is scheduled to be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee next week.