The internet is abuzz with California’s new proposed bill that would allow children to have more than two legal parents. Proponent, State Senator Mark Leno, cites a case where a young girl with two legal mothers was taken into State care when both of her mothers were unable to care for her, despite the involvement of the girl’s biological father and his wishes to care for her. Opponents have argued that a multiple parent family would confuse the child and make “radical families” legal, that nothing has shown a benefit to children in such families, and according to Focus on the Family’s Glenn T Stanton “a job best done for children by their own mother and father”.
Setting aside my own poly and queer friendly agendas, I believe that this bill will be beneficial for children in all kinds of situations, including the one of the girl stated above, and several states have recognized this already, including the one in which I currently reside. Step-parents have little to no rights when it comes to the children that often-times live in their homes and bond with them as they do with parents. Right now my step-son could just as easily end up in State care as he could with me should something happen to both his mother and Hubby. There would be channels I could take to change that with these laws in place, but in some states there is no option.
Now, let’s take that a step further to gay parenting. Children of gay parents are not always adopted or conceived anonymously. Sometimes the donor is a friend or someone the couple knows. In this case it isn’t uncommon for the child to know his biological mother or father and have some kind of bond with him or her. If the child’s legal parents want to add a legal aspect to that situation shouldn’t they have that right?
Finally, let’s look at a poly household. While we can’t all be legally married, there are responsibilities that come with raising children as a whole. If I give birth to a child and Hubby’s partner stays home to nurture and take care of that child there is no reason I wouldn’t trust that person with my child should something happen to us, nor should she be restricted from doing so in any situation, since I’m tired of this being an in-case-we-meet-our-unfortunate-demise case scenario. Schools, doctors, camps should all recognize this person as a co-parent to my child, no questions asked.
The next thing I will address is the constant sate of confusion our children must be living in and the credit none of them is ever given to understand and accept whatever reality we present to them. This so-called “confusion” is a product of bias and learned ideas, not instinct. A child does not instinctual identify a heterosexual man and woman with matching DNA to his as his parents. He will accept what he learns, and as long as that is a loving, nurturing environment I could not care less what it looks like. My stepson has never questioned my role in his life. My girlfriend’s son never asked us what was happening or why. He accepted it and went back to his trains. Kids have an amazing ability to be open-minded and accepting of anything that comes their way, and whether or not this bill is approved does not change that.
As far as the psyche of our children, is “there’s no proof these children are any better off” really the best you can do? Is there evidence that all children of multiple parent households turn out to be criminals and sociopaths? No, just as there aren’t any that prove that children who carry lunch boxes instead of brown bags grow up to be peeping toms and rapists. It’s ludicrous. If my children are no better off than any one else’s children, is that really a problem? No, because no mater what the family structure looks like any child can have a fantastic upbringing. I don’t pretend ours is a better way; it’s just a way.
I will say that our kids tend to accept change and unconventional ideas a little more readily than some from traditional families. Nothing phases the 5-year-old. He has just learned to adapt and carry on. He’s also 5, and this is typical of most 5 year olds, but he’s the best example I have, and as long as he’s happy and healthy I’m happy.
I can support this bill and those like it, and as long as the focus stays on our children and not religious or political agendas I will continue to do so for anything that helps. I can understand the system-wide changes this will cause for our welfare, child support, custody, and foster care programs, as well as how we treat single parent families and those with step-parents. Honestly, I think it all needed to be revamped a long time ago.
I don’t need the law to tell me any of our children can call me Mom. I need the law to tell me that the professionals and politicians looking out for us do for them so that I can continue to do what I do every day, love them and give them the best care possible.