NOM BLOG

Prof. Morse on Why California's Three-Parent Law Was Inevitable

 

Prof. Jennifer Morse writes in The Public Discourse that "The supposed need for California’s SB 1476 flowed directly from the drive to normalize same sex parenting and recognize same sex unions.":

Can a child have three parents? If California State Senator Mark Leno has his way, children in California will be able to have three legal parents. Before we dismiss SB 1476 as another example of California Weird, we had best look into it more closely. After all, the bill has passed both houses of the California Assembly and is awaiting Governor Brown’s signature or veto.

I believe this development was inevitable, more inevitable in fact than the much-vaunted inevitability of gay marriage. Once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual-gender requirement, we had to end up with triple-parenting.

A deeper look at the whole picture surrounding SB 1476 reveals that not only should the three-parent law fail, same-sex “marriage” should fail as well. As we will see, embedded in this bill is an appalling power-grab by the state, and a grotesque misrepresentation of the facts by the bill’s authors.

12 Comments

  1. Barb Chamberlan
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Another excellent piece by Dr. Morse.

  2. Son of Adam
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    This is an example of the government's expansion for power in which the state determines what makes a parent and not nature, biology, or God.

  3. Ash
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Great article by Dr. Morse. Marriage supporters need to explain these effects of ssm to the public, in conjunction with concerns about religious liberty, our marriage culture, etc. Dr. Morse explains how ssm is directly related to the three parents legislation in CA, and lays the real-world consequences. The fact of the matter is that because of ssm, the presumption of paternity was twisted to apply to a female, non-biological parent, over the biological father, and thus a child had to go into foster care because the state couldn’t consider her father as a potential guardian. Furthermore, in response to this situation, the government is now giving judges the discretion to assign unrelated people as parents to our children. That’s how ssm affects us.

    Dr. Morse says: “If all same-sex couples were completely and permanently committed to ensuring that their child would never have a relationship with his or her other biological parent, then there would be no particular drive for same-sex parenting to lead to triple-parenting. But this is obviously a very strong condition.”

    I’d agree that it’s pretty unrealistic to believe that all same-sex female couples would meet the condition laid out above. But I’d disagree with Dr. Morse on the idea that triple-parenting would not be necessary if a same-sex couple was completely committed to disconnecting a child from its biological, opposite-sexed parent. We must remember the male half of the same-sex couple category. If a male couple wants a presumption of parentage at birth of some sort for children born via surrogacy, then it would automatically require children to have three legal parents at birth—regardless of any agreements made beforehand. The fact of the matter is that you cannot treat women who carry and give birth to children as anonymous sperm donors, and women cannot be held to a pre-birth agreement renouncing their parental rights.

    If there is an attempt at full “equality,” i.e. granting a presumption of parentage to same-sex male couples at birth, then children must have three parents ab initio. But even with same-sex female couples, three parents may be necessary at some point, as we can see with the M.C. case.

    Like Dr. Morse, I find it odd that Leno is using this case of all cases to justify triple-parentage. It's not a very good development for the ssm movement.

  4. Ash
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Great article by Dr. Morse. Marriage supporters need to explain these effects of ssm to the public, in conjunction with concerns about religious liberty, our marriage culture, etc. Dr. Morse explains how ssm is directly related to the three parents legislation in CA, and lays the real-world consequences. The fact of the matter is that because of ssm, the presumption of paternity was twisted to apply to a female, non-biological parent, over the biological father, and thus a child had to go into foster care because the state couldn’t consider her father as a potential guardian. Furthermore, in response to this situation, the government is now giving judges the discretion to assign unrelated people as parents to our children. That’s how ssm affects us.

    Dr. Morse says: “If all same-sex couples were completely and permanently committed to ensuring that their child would never have a relationship with his or her other biological parent, then there would be no particular drive for same-sex parenting to lead to triple-parenting. But this is obviously a very strong condition.”

    I’d agree that it’s pretty unrealistic to believe that all same-sex female couples would meet the condition laid out above. But I’d disagree with Dr. Morse on the idea that triple-parenting would not be necessary if a same-sex couple was completely committed to disconnecting a child from its biological, opposite-sexed parent. We must remember the male half of the same-sex couple category. If a male couple wants a presumption of parentage at birth of some sort for children born via surrogacy, then it would automatically require children to have three legal parents at birth—regardless of any agreements made beforehand. The fact of the matter is that you cannot treat women who carry and give birth to children as anonymous sperm donors, and women cannot be held to a pre-birth agreement renouncing their parental rights.

    If there is an attempt at full “equality,” i.e. granting a presumption of parentage to same-sex male couples at birth, then children must have three parents ab initio. But even with same-sex female couples, three parents may be necessary at some point, as we can see with the M.C. case.

    Like Dr. Morse, I'm surprised that Leno is using this case of all cases to justify triple parentage. It's not a good development for the ssm movement.

  5. AM
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Morse does a stellar job of connecting the dots from redefining marriage to redefining parenthood.
    The ssm custody case that prompted SB 1476 is the proverbial "canary in the coal mine".
    Anyone who supports ssm is inviting unprecedented (and onerous) changes in the way government designates parental status to people who have no biological connection to a child.

  6. Preserve Marriage
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    California State Senator Mark Leno was the author of SB 48.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/opinion/la-ed-textbook-20110408

    He lied, stating it would have no fiscal impact. The new textbooks, with the newly required transsexual and homosexual role models for the children to admire -- that nothing negative can be said about -- are being printed now. And guess what. The state has to pay. The state's coffers are in horrible shape, but even as University of California tuition passes $14K, there's still money available for forcing schoolteachers to indoctrinate children on behalf of transsexuals and homosexuals.

    After all, they have to include certain ethnicities/ national origins (immutable characteristics) in history books.

    Why not choose historical figures based on whether they mutilated their bodies, or with which gender they had sex with?

    Transsexual and homosexual lobbyists just slipped themselves into a list of ethnicities and national origins.

    Three parents is not just "California Weird." It didn't start here, although it's coming to your state (if it's not there already).

  7. AM
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Ash
    Your point about male ss couples and surrogacy is spot on. I hope Dr. Morse reads your comment. :-)

    "The fact of the matter is that you cannot treat women who carry and give birth to children as anonymous sperm donors, and women cannot be held to a pre-birth agreement renouncing their parental rights."
    Separation of the genetic and gestational "parts" of motherhood is a biological/ legal nightmare.

  8. Ash
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks, AM :)

    There’s an article by a pro-ssm law professor which explains why the marital presumption could not apply to a same-sex male couple unless children are recorded as having three parents at birth.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=884442

    There is another article that I’ve read and want to read again because it’s so in depth. Perhaps the marriage supporters here would like to start in on it themselves. It’s a very comprehensive piece of legal analysis explaining why same-sex couples are incompatible with the marital presumption. As explained by the authors, states which have implemented ssm and other forms of registered same-sex unions often extol “equality” between same-sex and opposite-sex unions without taking proper steps to sort out parentage concerns. Such equality is really impossible. The authors even note that granting same-sex partners presumed parentage may conflict with parental rights for biological parents laid out in a few Supreme Court decisions.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2024079

  9. Little Man
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    What people forget to consider is the cost to government to provide arbitration or formal court hearings.

    Even for some court hearings, instead of an appearance before a judge, one can get some self-named arbitrator by surprise instead who says he/she knows the law, etc. and tries to get the parties to reach an agreement so as to not use the judge's time.

    How much will all the potential legal complications regarding parent 'triangles' cost the government? The more complicated, the more costly, I would infer.

    Civil marriage is:
    a) for 2 adults, however defined
    b) for 2 consenting individuals, however proven
    c) not for purposes of immigration status, however proven
    d) not for recognizing friendships, or promoting incest
    e) for 2 persons of the opposite sex, a verifiable condition
    f) not dependent on fertility, a non-verifiable condition
    g) not dependent on whether one of the pair has a venereal disease (in this country)
    h) not dependent on whether the pair would be good parents (dealt with after-the-fact), minimal.

    All this points to the government's public interest in civil marriage. It is not because government is so goody-goody and gracious that government promotes civil marriage as defined above. Yes, there are some fine, good-natured politicians, but they all sooner-or-later have to face a 'budget'. Then, all illusions vanish!

    It is because the government will have to dish out much more spending if civil marriage is not defined this way.

    When children are born out of wedlock, out of the institution regulated by government, it is incredibly expensive for government.

    Look at California's budget. Most of it goes to social services, to repair the consequences of an individualistic society, with children either born into poverty or not knowing even who their second parent is. And this has to do as much with same-sex civil marriage as it does with opposite-sex relationships.

    SAME-SEX MARRIAGE REGULATES ITSELF, and does not need government's regulation.

    The government's funds are needed to regulate opposite-sex marriage and relationships, regardless of sexual orientation, because of the primal instinct for reproduction which throws all caution 'to the wind'.

    Once again, laws simply become pragmatic solutions to an otherwise unmanageable problem. Same thing re the economy, today.

  10. Actually a decent human being
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    The real question is why do you people care? Its not like gays marrying effects you people personally in any way. If everybody shared the same beliefs of you people blacks couldn't marry whites and catholics wouldn't be allowed to marry outside their religion. You people who talk about protecting marriages should really take a closer look at the statics of marriage. Most marriages end in divorce and the average length of marriage is seven years. So keep on protecting your marriage values and don't let the homosexuals have equal rights.

  11. Ash
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    "Its not like gays marrying effects you people personally in any way."

    If courts can start assigning additional parents to our children because of ssm, then it affects us personally.

  12. Daughter of Eve
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    AADHB, You'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that NOM supports the rights for those who choose to engage in homosexual behavior, to marry (and that goes for individuals with same-sex attraction, or those who choose to call themselves "gay"). NOM has never called for legislation which requires proof of sexual orientation or which requires public divulgence of private sexual behavior, for any citizen, in order to receive a marriage license. NOM supports all citizens, both male and female, entering into marriage. NOM does not support the neutering of marriage, wherein a state ignores the sexes of the individuals wishing to marry; ie., NOM supports and upholds the bride/groom requirement for marriage. The sexual orientation/behaviors of either bride or groom are irrelevant to NOM, and irrelevant to marriage eligiblity law. Equal rights for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or behavioral choice.