Three official parents? Legal developments
Maybe you saw the news about three legal parents of a baby in Canada:
|Della Wolf with her three parents. Watch CBC News video (2:16).|
About this Steve in Vancouver writes,
British Columbia (where I reside) is the first province in Canada with legislation that allows three or more parents on a birth certificate (although it's been achieved elsewhere in Canada through litigation). The revised B.C. Family Law Act, which came into effect in March 2013 and allows for up to four parents to be listed, seeks to clarify who is a parent and who isn't as more couples turn to assisted reproduction.
The news below is the first time more than two parents have been listed on a birth certificate (a lesbian couple and the biological father).
Della Wolf is B.C.'s 1st child with 3 parents on birth certificate
By Catherine Rolfsen, CBC News
...Three-month-old Della Wolf Kangro Wiley Richards is the daughter of lesbian parents and their male friend.
"It feels really just natural and easy, like any other family," said biological father Shawn Kangro. "It doesn't feel like anything is strange about it."
B.C.'s new Family Law Act, which came into effect last year, allows for three or even more parents. Della's family is the first to go through the process, and they finalized the birth certificate registration last week.
Moms wanted a dad, not just a donor
The story starts when Danielle Wiley and her wife, Anna Richards, were faced with a problem many couples encounter: how to get pregnant.
"Both of us, from the beginning, wanted to have a father that would actually be a participant," said Wiley.
Kangro, an old friend of Richards, seemed like the obvious choice. "When Anna and Danielle approached me, I think instantly I thought I was going to say yes, even though I had to debate a lot of things in my head first," said Kangro.
Before Della was conceived, the three started creating a written contract, outlining how their family would work. Kangro would be a guardian, with rights to access....
"The form that you can automatically fill in online, we weren't able to do, because it didn't have a space for a third parent. And it was really important to us to have Shawn on the birth certificate."
In the end, Vital Statistics sent them a new form with space for up to four parents....
..."In the old days, we looked at biology and genetic connections" [says Vancouver lawyer Barbara Findlay]. "And that's no longer true. We now look at the intention of the parties who are contributing to the creation of the child, and intend to raise the child. And that's a really, really big shift."...
The whole article (Feb. 6, 2014).
In the National Post: Vancouver baby becomes first person to have three parents named on birth certificate in BC (Feb. 10, 2014).
Similar legislation was enacted in California last October, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure that, in some situations, allows a child to have more than two legal parents. Los Angeles Times article: Brown signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents (Oct. 4, 2013).
A legal analysis at Justia.com: California Allows Children to Have More Than Two Legal Parents (Oct. 15, 2013).
And another at Lawyers.com: In California, Children Can Have More Than 2 Parents (Oct. 18, 2013).
Amanda Marcotte's column at Slate: Children in California Can Now Have More Than Two Legal Parents. Conservatives: Your Plan Backfired (Oct. 8, 2013).
Similar action has been brewing elsewhere; for instance Florida judge approves birth certificate listing three parents (Feb. 7, 2013). These things are being driven not by poly groups but by more common realities stemming from divorce, merged families, IVF pregnancy, adoption, and the like.
However, a triad in Massachusetts who are friends of mine got a co-guardianship agreement approved about a decade ago that establishes parental rights for all three. They say there was no problem getting it approved since it was uncontested by any relatives, and they think this should be possible in many other places.