Monday, August 27, 2012

Assembly approves bill to allow multiple parents - Sacramento Bee

A bill approved Monday by the state Assembly would allow judges to declare more than two legal parents for some California children.

Lawmakers approved SB1476 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, on a party line vote, with Democrats supporting it. The legislation would allow judges to legally recognize multiple parents when it is in a child's best interest to have more than two parental relationships.

"We live in a world today where courts are dealing with diverse circumstances that have reshaped California families," Leno said in a statement. "This legislation gives courts the flexibility to protect the best interests of a child who is being supported financially and emotionally by those parents."

The bill was inspired by the case of a young California girl who was put into the foster care system because her biological father could not be ruled a third parent when her two legal parents were unable to care for her. Supporters of the legislation say it could keep future children out of the foster care system by giving them additional legal parents who have caretaking and financial obligations.

Opponents say the bill erodes traditional parental roles and allow children to have a limitless number of parents.

"This smacks of the state redefining parenthood," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks. "What's next? Are we going to parent by committee?"

Supporters say these scenarios are unlikely because the bill would not change existing standards for legal parenthood, only the number of parents a court can recognize.

To qualify as a parent, adults would have to raise the child as their own. Stepparents, boyfriends or girlfriends would not qualify.

Other states, including Pennsylvania and Maine, already allow judges to recognize more than two parents in custody cases.

The California legislation, if approved by the Senate and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, would apply to a range of family structures, including a man who married a woman while she was pregnant with another man's child or a lesbian couple who conceived a child with the help of a sperm donor who has stayed involved as a father.

In 2010, married couples fell below half of all American households for the first time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The bill passed 50-19 and returns to the Senate for a final vote.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

• Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.

No comments:

Post a Comment