Always at the forefront of LGBT issues, a new bill in California is sure to be viewed as an outrage to some and progress to others. The bill, known as SB 1476 (full text) and sponsored by Senator Mark Leno (D) from San Francisco, would allow children to have more than two parents.
According to Msnbc.com, Leno said that inspiration for the bill came from a case in which a child had two mothers. When one mother was imprisoned and the was hospitalized, the child's biological father wanted custody. He was denied by the court and the state took custody of the child because California law stated that a child could only have two parents.
The goal of the bill is to allow judges to have more options when it comes to determining what is best for a child's well being and to keep them out of foster care. Possible examples of where it might be used include cases of divorce where a non-biological parent raises the child, cases of abuse or neglect when both parents are deemed unfit and someone else has cared for the child, same-sex couples who have an opposite-sex friend help them to conceive or many other unforseen circumstances.
Of course the bill has its opponents, mostly from the religious right. Be Benjamin Lopez, legislative analyst for the Traditional Values Coalition, told the Sacremento Bee that the bill is an attempt to "revamp, redefine and muddy the waters" of what a family is, as well as an attempted step towards gay marriage.
Other opponents worry that the bill increased complexity in determining cases involving government money. The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists pointed out to the Sacremento Bee that things like taxes, citizenship, public assistance and Social Security rights could all be affected by the bill.
By the same token, supporters say that the bill could only help children by giving them more potential access to government benefits.
SB 1276 has passed in the California Senate and is expected to be debated in the Assembly on July 9.