New California Law Will Allow Children More Than Two Legal Parents


Modern FamilyCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a new provision that will allow the state to recognize more than two legal parents for children. The law was designed with same-sex couples in mind, who may choose to keep a third opposite-sex biological parent in their child’s life. In particular, there was an incident in which a lesbian couple was unable to care for their child, but the biological father was not considered as an alternative when the state took custody of his daughter.

The anti-gay Pacific Justice Institute opposed the bill. According to PJI’s Brad Dacus, the new legal wiggle room will somehow harm children:

DACUS: This is in the long run going to be a mistake. 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.

Under the law, all potential parents would still have to meet the state’s existing standards for legal parenthood. Thus, parenting dyads would still have primary guardianship over their children. The law could also potentially create new legal protections for the children of divorced couples, who may have as many as four parents invested in their well-being.

Brown vetoed a similar bill that was proposed last year. The National Organization for Marriage condemned it at the time, suggesting, “If three’s a crowd, four or more is a mob.” Brown did not explain what changed his mind.