In a case some feared could set in motion legal abolition of marriage and the family, a Canadian judge has denied an application to give a boy three parents.
As WorldNetDaily reported, rather than replace a parent, which adoption does, a London, Ontario, boy’s biological mother and father were seeking to “add a parent,” insisting the mother’s lesbian partner was part of a “loving circle of family.”
The same-sex couple, who exchanged public vows in 1992, decided to ask a friend to be the father rather than using an anonymous sperm donor. The man does not live at the boy’s home but is considered a member of the household.
Ontario Superior Court Justice David Aston said he was “prepared to make the declaration” but held last week – after considering the legislation and case law – the court did not have the inherent jurisdiction to make such an order.
“Heartbroken” by Aston’s decision, the boy’s mother and her lesbian partner say they are considering an appeal.
The judge ordered media to withhold the names of the three adults and the child.
In his decision, Aston cited Canada’s Children’s Law Reform Act, which contemplates only one mother when it refers to “the” mother of a child. The judge said his conclusion was consistent with other legislation, such as the adoption provision in Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act, which limits the number of parents to two, the Lawyers Weekly of Canada reported.
Aston emphasized, however, the case isn’t about discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or the definition of marriage.
He had determined the child is “obviously thriving in a loving family that meets his every need.”
Nevertheless, in dismissing the application, Aston asserted granting it might have opened the door to applications by step-parents, extended family and others.
“If a child can have three parents,” he asked, “why not four or six or a dozen? What about all the adults in a commune or a religious organization or sect? Quite apart from social policy implications, the potential to create or exacerbate custody and access litigation should not be ignored.”
That argument had been raised by opponents such as Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of the Canada Family Action Coalition, whose group filed to be an intervenor, or “friend of the court,” as it is known in the United States.
“Once you’ve destroyed the standard of one woman and one man, you’ve broken down the whole basis of the system,” he told WND last month.
The attorney for the boy’s father, Alfred Mamo, however, asserted that argument is irrelevant to the case.
“To try and dream up other situations where someone might come before the court, with respect, is not a legitimate reason for making a decision on the particular facts,” he told the London, Ontario, Free Press newspaper.
Justice Aston also argued the creation or shaping of social policy, such as the definition of the modern family, belongs to the legislature.
That echoes the contention of Derek Rogusky, vice president for family policy with Focus on the Family Canada, who asserted the judiciary is not the place to handle such matters.
“The real problem is we’re doing this piecemeal, through the courts, and not thinking of the big picture,” he said. “If we are going to make changes, they have to be done in a thoughtful and thorough public-policy process, through Parliament, so that we can hear from experts and constituents.”
Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California, believed the Ontario case’s implications were monumental.
“Once we cross the border into legalized multiple parenthood, we have virtually arrived at the abolition of marriage and the family,” he said in a column for National Review Online.
“The logic of gay marriage leads inexorably to the end of marriage, and the creation in its place of an infinitely flexible series of contracts,” said Kurz. “Monogamous marriage cannot function if it is just one of many social arrangements.”