Not any more … at least not in the Golden State. Jerry Brown, the governor there, signed a bill into law on Friday that will allow children in California to have more than two legal parents.
In an article reporting on the law, the Los Angeles Times notes in its opening paragraph that conservative groups view the measure as an attack on the traditional family.
The bill’s author, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) acknowledged that the law would the courts to recognize three or more legal parents so that custody and financial responsibility can be shared by all those involved in raising a child:
Courts need the ability to recognize these changes so children are supported by the adults that play a central role in loving and caring for them. It is critical that judges have the ability to recognize the roles of all parents so that no child has to endure separation from one of the adults he or she has always known as a parent.
But critics point out the serious problems inherent in the measure. Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said there is a potential for greater conflict over what is best for a child, which could result in more complicated court fights:
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.
Ed Howard, senior counsel for the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, saw the law as a positive step.
Everyone who places the interests of children first and realizes that judges shouldn’t be forced to rule in ways that hurt children should cheer this bill becoming law.
Brown vetoed a similar bill last year, but was unwilling to say what led him to change his mind this time around.