The 3 Parent Family -- Conservatives Freak Out Over a Different Model for Healthy, Happy Kids

Imagine a lesbian couple that jointly raises a child with the man that helped them conceive, or a father who splits parenting duties with his ex-wife and her new husband. A new California bill, SB 1476, sponsored by Sen. Mark Leno, aims to make it possible for all three, and possibly more, parents in such cases to be legally recognized — if it’s in the child’s best interest.

Of course, you put such a bill in the Conserva-Translator and you get: Liberals are trying to destroy the family!

Right-wing commentators have been quick to argue that this is but proof that the push for gay marriage is eroding the family unit. Benjamin Lopez of Traditional Values Coalition told the Sacramento Bee that it was an attempt to “revamp, redefine and muddy the waters” of family structure. On his show Monday, Rush Limbaugh riffed on the measure and, true to form, offered up the classic, “What if somebody wants to marry their pet dog?”

I mean, kids getting to have more than two adults supporting and nurturing them into adulthood? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?

The bill doesn’t change the strict requirements for legal parenthood, it merely removes the two-parent-per-child cap. As the Sacramento Bee explains, “Under current law, a parent can be a man who signs a voluntary declaration of paternity, for example. It also can be a man who was married and living with a child’s mother, or who took a baby into his home and represented the infant as his own.” The bill just allows more than one father and/or more than one mother to get legal parental recognition.

It’s important to note that the measure only applies in cases where broadening the scope of parenthood is “required to protect the best interest of the child,” according to Leno. For example, the proposal was inspired by a case where a girl’s two mothers became incapable of caring for her and the biological father stepped up to take custody — but because of the two-parent limit, the court put the girl in state custody.

This is just another case of right-wingers seeing an attempt to make families stronger as an aim to destroy them.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card


Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.