The Spectacle Blog

Ozzie, Harriet, and Whomever

By on 7.5.12 | 12:00PM

In recent weeks, I have been making the argument that adopting a unisex definition of marriage will have unintended consequences. There will be no institution in which adults not only make a public promise to care for each other, but also any children their sexual union happens to produce. Case in point is a bill being considered in California that tries to grapple with life post-traditional marriage by allowing a child to have more than two legal parents.

Nor is this just a mom, stepdad, dad kind of arrangement. The Sacremento Bee reports:

State Sen. Mark Leno is pushing legislation to allow a child to have multiple parents.

"The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today," the San Francisco Democrat said.

Surrogate births, same-sex parenthood and assisted reproduction are changing society by creating new possibilities for nontraditional households and relationships.

The genesis of this bill?

SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child's biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.

The Bee gives some example of who would benefit:

  • A family in which a man began dating a woman while she was pregnant, then raised that child with her for seven years. The youth also had a parental relationship with the biological father.
  •  A same-sex couple who asked a close male friend to help them conceive, then decided that all three would raise the child.
  • A divorce in which a woman and her second husband were the legal parents of a child, but the biological father maintained close ties as well.
What could possibly go wrong? But when you abandon even the ideal of traditional marriage, what choice do you have?

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