Why California’s three-parent law was inevitable


The following posting by Jennifer Roback Morse on September 14 is taken from a larger story on the Witherspoon Institute’s Public Discourse site.

A California bill allowing children to have three legal parents will not help children, but instead will unnecessarily complicate their lives. The supposed need for California’s SB 1476 flowed directly from the drive to normalize same sex parenting and recognize same sex unions.

Can a child have three parents? If California State Senator Mark Leno has his way, children in California will be able to have three legal parents. Before we dismiss SB 1476 as another example of California Weird, we had best look into it more closely. After all, the bill has passed both houses of the California Assembly and is awaiting Governor Brown’s signature or veto.

I believe this development was inevitable, more inevitable in fact than the much-vaunted inevitability of gay marriage. Once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual-gender requirement, we had to end up with triple-parenting.

A deeper look at the whole picture surrounding SB 1476 reveals that not only should the three-parent law fail, same-sex “marriage” should fail as well. As we will see, embedded in this bill is an appalling power-grab by the state, and a grotesque misrepresentation of the facts by the bill’s authors.

Let us state an obvious fact: a same-sex couple cannot have a child unless someone gives them one, or part of one, namely either an egg or a sperm. If two women, for instance, decide they want to have a baby, they must still involve a man in the process. They can use some form of artificial reproductive technology with sperm from a man who is unknown to them. Or, they can find an accommodating friend to have sex with one of them, or to donate his sperm.

The question is this: how is the same-sex couple going to manage the relationship with this third party? In some cases, the women do not want any relationship with the father. Our government will give them this. Through the legal institution of anonymous sperm donation, the government agrees perpetually to separate a mother and a father from a legal relationship with each other.

If all same-sex couples were completely and permanently committed to ensuring that their child would never have a relationship with his or her other biological parent, then there would be no particular drive for same-sex parenting to lead to triple-parenting. But this is obviously a very strong condition. Some female couples will want their children to have an ongoing relationship with their father. Some fathers will want a relationship with their children. Hence, we can see that through situations such as these, normalizing same-sex parenting creates momentum for triple-parenting.

Some of these three-party relationships will be agreeable and cooperative and amicable. But again, it is obviously a very big presumption to suppose that every such relationship will be completely harmonious for a lifetime. Only some known donor fathers will be fathers on the exact terms desired by the two women. Other fathers will desire something different, either more or less involvement than the women want. We cannot count on private agreements among the parties to solve all problems and manage all disputes. A subset of these cases is going to end up being settled by the family courts. Therefore, not only does same-sex parenting create an impetus to triple-parenting, it creates an impetus for state involvement in the ongoing management of these complex relationships.

It all sounds very nice and agreeable to allow people to make any parenting agreements they want on the front end of their relationships. But when a relationship breaks down, the long arm of the law will end up involved in the life of the family, on the back end, to resolve disputes. We are replacing the natural pre-political concept of biological parenthood with an artificial, government-created concept of parenthood that is entirely socially constructed. Instead of the government simply recognizing and recording the pre-political reality of biological parenthood, we are giving agents of the state the authority to construct parenthood, all in the best interests of the child, of course.

To read the original blog entry, click here.

To read the entire story on Public Discourse, click here.



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  1. Kenneth M. Fisher says:

    This is another stage on the slippery slope to complete moral depravity. The final step may come in November!

    The sad part is that it can’t come without the cooperation of many who call themselves Catholics, even Bishops!

    May God have mercy on America, once the Land of the Free and the Brave, now a Welfare State with Tyrants handing out the “benefits”!

    Viva Cristo Rey!

    God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
    Kenneth M. Fisher

    • I wonder how, if possible, a bishop might cease to be a bishop. In that there is latae sententiae excommunication, I wonder if there is something similar by which a bishop would automatically cause himself not to be a bishop.

      • We’ve been over this point before. Canon law is firm: a bishop or anyone holding ecclesial office retains his office unless and until he is publicly declared by competent Church authority to be removed from that office.

    • This nation has become the new Roman empire. We have chosen to support sodomy, unnatural marriage, abortion, contraception, and just about every evil practice. May the Lord have mercy upon us. +JMJ+

  2. These three parent “families” and the bishops can live together for spiritual development reasons.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      why do the bishops provoke such comments…hmmmm let me guess. Instead of working with the ACLU to stop the death penalty why not work to stop these immoral ones…

    • Abeca Christian says:

      JLS it sounds like a disaster lol

    • John F. Maguire says:

      To respond to reported scandal by compulsively bashing bishops is to respond in a way that is (1) unjust to the bishops and (2) off-point in regard to the scandal in question (here the scandal-making attempt to deploy the abstract word parent so to “gender-neutralize” the institution of marriage as, and just as, an institution comprising man and woman, and therefore, in potentia, an institution comprising father and mother). An alternative response to bishop bashing, we know, is urged upon us by Our Lady of Akita in the Message she gave to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa in Japan. Specifically, Our Lady’s instruction on how to respond properly and ecclesially to situations that have been subverted by scandal is given to us in this, Our Lady’s solemn commendation to: “Pray very much for the Pope, the bishops, and the priests.”

      • Maguire, if the bishops are just then they are not going to be bothered by criticism or bashing, but will rise above it. This is not to ignore it but to graciously address it. They don’t; they can’t; they get what they pay for.

        • John F. Maguire says:

          No layman, JLS, exercises the office of bishop. In military terms, no layman is a captain of Israel. Indeed, no layman, for that matter, exercises any such office as, say, episcopus externus. Nor yet should lay bloggers bash bishops INDIRECTLY in the name of your notion that “if bishops are just, they would not be bothered by…bashing” in the first place. This heads-I-win-tails-you-lose attitude towards Catholic bishops, I submit, is inconfruent with the calling of the laity.

  3. Larry from RI says:

    If three is good,four or more would be better.How about letting the pet family horse join the menage de trois??????

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Larry after all horses have rights too…..lol

      • Thankyou, Abeca. I’m going to ramp up my defense of animals. I do not understand why people compare animals to wicked and evil people. Animals are good. Animals are incapable of sin. God loves animals.

        • Abeca Christian says:

          JLS you are correct, I remember my grandmum always saying that it is insulting to compare the sins of men to animals…

          Animals at least obey the natural law and man apparently do not because they behave like monsters not like animals…

  4. God will not be MOCKED much longer and everyone that voted for this horrible bill will be facing eternal damnation in the pits hell, including your very disturbed governor, which is as bad as the fruit-cake here in Mass. the devil’s Patrick. Maybe insanity is the new norm nowadays. +JMJ+

    • Abeca Christian says:

      JMJ yes it’s true what you posted, this is what happens when people allow the disordered to make laws and are treated as normal…innocent children are scandalized and they will have to answer to a higher power now but this seems to be out of our hands… God have mercy!

    • Cole Thornton says:

      Those who voted for this bill will have a lot of bishops’ skulls to walk on where they may spend eternity. But then again, with all the hard headed bishops, that walk might be painful!

  5. California is certainly the home of the ridiculous. For the state to assume the power to redefine what a family is or can be is beyond ridiculous, though. You have a legislature and governor assaulting the family, marriage, and most other societal norms.

    There is an election in about a month. There is time left to raise your voices, to oust the Democratic Party hacks who are doing their best to destroy society by redefining it at the molecular level. The only way to fight this is to fire them. Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. It’s late, but not too late !

    • Suzanne from California says:

      …and all these politicians are self-proclaimed Catholics too. Somebody should start denying their communion and/or inform them they cannot claim Catholic status any longer. They did this with colleges who claim to be Catholic.

  6. Only a formal adoption by the “non genetic” party no matter how much they think they have a right to be called a parent rather than an adoptive parent. Frankly, everyone is getting sick and tire of the gay fantasy family imposing a lie on their children. What happens after these people get a “gay divorce”? Is the child suddenly declared the child of the “next” gay marriage non related partner? Statistics are already beginning to emerge just what a morass to a child the gay parenthood is causing.

  7. Laurette Elsberry says:

    The factor of obscene immorality should be mentioned here.

  8. Abeca Christian says:

    There is a abuse of power in California….these laws are implemented without the majority knowing. The few who know and ask our leaders to vote no, usually ignore the requests.

    These laws are not for the common good. Now I know why others call the gay activism “the Gay Mafia”…..they seem to have puppets in higher power, who will pass anything just for them.

    • This is very true, Abeca Christian. Before I had a computer, I knew nothing about much of the awful legislation that some legislators in California were passing. Sometimes I wished I did not have a computer because it is all so disgusting, but we do need to know most of this in order to vote for the right people and things. We now have a judicial tyranny, so I do not vote for most of the sitting judges, either. If I do not know what they stand for, I do not vote to keep them in. I just leave vote no or leave blank.

      • Abeca Christian says:

        I understand how you feel, I didn’t know this either before, I feel like you, I always get an email about something evil trying to pass….the issue with this, it feels like the same people are getting this information and that is why we feel so overwhelmed, maybe the public just doesn’t seem to care enough to be informed, they just love to be told who to vote for by the media…the media runs the show now a days and many are the slaves, very complacent.


    Our pagan world needs the Church Millitant

    Google ‘Church Militant TV Daily Vortex ‘Obama’s Catholic Spies”

    • Learn about Catholicism. Then teach it to others. The Church on earth-the Church Militant- and all its members fight daily against evil. Of course the enemy’s plan is to make the soldiers of God shoot each other. He convinces the Lord’s faithful that their greatest enemy is their shepherds and their fellow soldiers. He enlarges their human faults and exposes their sins to the soldiers and then says to them “Look, here is the true enemy. Destroy them and you will have an army pure enough to defeat me.”

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Catherine you are correct…I am confused by what Anonymous posted, what is it that he/she/it is mumbling about? Oh well I like and appreciate your post best, I can at least understand what you were trying to convey. God bless you

  10. Divorce started complicating kids lives a long, long time ago. Stepmom, stepdad, mom’s boyfriend/s, dad’s girlfried/s, four or more sets of grandparents. It just keeps growing. Kids may not have had “legally” more than two parents, but for all practical purposes they have. I know persons whose familial relationships are so complicated, I think they can’t even keep it straight. Once divorce became acceptable (we can thank Reagan for that in CA), same sex unions were inevitable since marriage became meaningless. All this anger is directed toward homosexuals, but it should also be directed towards couples who don’t live up to their marriage vows. They are the primary destroyers of the family.

    • For Church teaching regarding “Divorce with re-marriage” and “homosexuality including gay-marriage”, on internet go to:
      ” What Catholics REALLY Believe Source “.

      The documented sources (links) that they provide are authentic and verifiable.

      They also provide info and links regarding abortion, death penalty, heresy, scandal, social justice, etc, etc., etc.

    • Catherine, I am divorced. I came back to my faith about 13 years before my divorce. I am remarried in the Church and my former husband was then remarried in the Church. Divorce is a horrible thing, I know, I experienced it and then had to raise my children. I think that everything possible should be done to save a marriage. Divorce though is after the fact of grave sin, most of the time. We have so much divorce because there is so much sin, adultery being the main sin, but there are so many more. The enemy continues to work very hard after a divorce in tempting a person into a new relationship because often the divorced person is in so much pain or very lonely, this causes more sin, and children become very alienated. Divorce came along with all the other rebellion in the world.The test is, that we can all repent of our sins, we can all return to TRUTH, we can all accept the Divine Mercy and the Grace that Jesus is constantly handing to us. Even if our sins be as scarlet, Jesus can restore us. The word to me is REBELLION, refusal to change, refusal to turn to God. Mired so deep in sin which becomes insanity. Jesus talks about this, the creature loving his sin. Jesus says there will be no peace on earth, until mankind turns to “My Divine Mercy” (St. Faustina). I guess the Good Lord is going to have to force us because the world isn’t turning in great droves on its own. He is a gentle and loving God…He is all Merciful. I am hoping that the Year of Faith will bring many to His feet, The Feet of the King, the King of All Nations.

      • Carolyn, yours is a good post. We all know that there are some who will do everything they can to break up someone’s marriage, either by cheating with someone’s husband or wife, or encouraging unnecessary divorces for minor reasons or by constantly bashing the opposite sex. One of my friends said, “Divorce is catching,” and I believe it true is to a certain extent; therefore I am very careful whom I trust. I do not make close friends with those with no good sexual morals. I do not mistreat them, but I just do not trust them unless they show evidence of real change. Even then one has to be careful what one tells a “friend” — not really personal things about one’s marriage — one should save that for a non involved professional.

    • Catherine you are right. The kids have several step dads, several step moms, several step grandparents etc. besides their natural parents and their natural extended family. Stepparents can be influential, for better or for worse, but they do not have legal power. Usually only the 2 biological parents do, unless rights are given up and the child can be legally adopted. But now it seems with all this crazy stuff, there will now be 3 legal parents, or even 4 if the there was an egg donor and a sperm donor. It can sometimes be very difficult to get 2 divorced parents to agree, can you imagine what it would be like with 4? Please Lord come and save us. Thanks Catherine.

    • Katherine, great post! May I add that after divorce became acceptable, out of wedlock relationships became acceptable, with the added acceptance of sterile sex, via contraception. Thus a total disrespect for marriage in our society has become the norm. Why then should we expect same homosexuals to respect marriage as God ordained it, when heterosexuals don’t?

    • The rampancy of this situation where so many kids have so many “grandparents”, parents, etc would explain why kids are so disrespectful to society and to authority figures. It is what society teaches them by its actions.

    • Rick DeLano says:

      “Divorce started complicating kids lives a long, long time ago.”

      >> Bingo. Most sane people don’t think like lawyers and so never understand the legal consequences of “improving” on marriage laws.

      But divorce is a mild spring day in the park compared to what is coming if the radicals can destroy marriage altogether, by redefining it as Federal Friendship Benefits.

      Children, as optional accessories, may be obtained for such Friendships in a number of ways.

      Each and every way involves one common factor:

      Any such child-accessorization will first, of course, involve the child’s separation from its natural mother, natural father, or both.

      There aren’t any exception to this rule- but give the researchers time.

      Soon enough they will be able to incorporate three sources of genetic material. Maybe more.

      It will all be so much better, so much better.

      Just wait and see.

      • Don’t worry, Rick, after people and the children who will have suffered through this get through, the pendulum will swing so far the other way that homosexuals and lesbians will be sorry that they every thought of such ideas. That is if they, and the heterosexuals will go along with them, survive all the STDs coming from such nutty behavior.

        • Correction “and the heterosexuals WHO go along with them”. By the way, Rick, they already have incorporated three sources of genetic material in a child, in England I think. I just read about it on the news a few weeks ago, even though it is unlawful. This is a Frankensteinian nightmare. If the Muslims bomb us back to the middle ages, this will all end, and it just might happen at the rate the West is going. It really makes one wonder if the so-called myths about centaurs — half man, half beast — were really myths after all or some result of a Frankensteinian science project.

  11. NEWS FLASH – Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield IL – says it like it is –
    Bishop Paprocki Warns of ‘Intrinsic Evils’ in Democratic Platform – – – –
    He said that voting for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are ‘intrinsically evil and gravely sinful’ makes a voter ‘morally complicit’ and places the eternal salvation of his or her soul in ‘serious jeopardy.’
    This can be found in the National Catholic Register.

    Where is a clear and strong statement like this from CA Bishops ? Until Bishops are clear, strong, and write SHORT to the point statements, they are not effective.

    3 person marriages, anything goes with intrinsic evil.

    • Has Bishop Thomas Paprocki denied communion to any such politicians or public pushers of politics that includes intrinsic evils? Has he excommunicated such people?

      • JLS, if you need to know, call him and ask him yourself.

        I’m sure every crack-pot in the Country is harrassing him by now. There is much hatred out there – just check out the secular sites.

        Pray for our good and brave Bishops. We must stand with them and defend them.
        The devil hates good bishops.

  12. Karen Jourden says:

    The sad thing is these kids are going to be confused. Like she said you have to have a male and female to make a child. You don’t see two bulls together. Most worship nature why don’t they learn form nature?
    These same sex people will be brainwashing these kids into thinking they are the opposite sex. Like the two women that has this boy at the age of 10 thinking he needs a sex change. You had homosexuals at a church in the 1980s in San Fransisco chanting we want your kids while they destroyed the grounds and banged at the church doors scarring the children inside. There was a website where the homosexuals admitted they want our kids and they are doing it through same sex marriages and our schools. That site has been taken down since I put it in my book.

  13. Arness Barts says:

    Why only three? Why not four, five or six? After all, it takes a village …

  14. Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

    Jerry Springer will have a field day with this one

    • Abeca Christian says:

      I think he already did, he maybe the first one to have started this and that is why this stupid law was imposed on the people!

  15. This is but another example for Catholics to live the New Evangelization called for by our Holy Family. A loving, joyful, warm, generous Catholic family is nearly irresistible. Have you not notice how people want to know about what makes your family different? Special? I tell them….it’s our quest for holiness and wanting to please God by living our beautiful Catholic faith. Do not lose heart my friends….this is an opportunity.

  16. Wait until one of these “three parent” children are enrolled in a parochial school. When the school insists on dealing with two parents, a lawsuit will result.

  17. Next stop for the Democrat/Progressive steamroller: polygamy for Muslims. The video “Innocence of Muslims” in YouTube is quite funny in this respect, with the three wives chasing Mohammed around the tent because he did it out of turn. Worth seeing.

  18. Meant to make my address to Katherine with a K. instead of Catherine.

  19. After my last post I did realize that contraception is probably, by far, the first reason for a marriage to be heading for divorce, even though to the couple it is an unseen reason. This was not my situation. I have talked to many practicing Catholics over the years about this, but only the Vatican obedient Catholics seem to agree or understand. Unfortunately the Priests have said very little at the pulpit. One of the most frequent and serious sins, and so little said….very sad. Of course here on this blog site I am preaching to the choir. God Bless everyone in the Queen’s Immaculate Heart.

  20. Pity the children caught in this web of confusion about who’s the boss, who really cares for them. The potential for considerable conflict and child abuse will increase. Even in two parent loving families, there is conflict and an uneasy envrionment of who is looking out for them.

    Our courts will have a field day sorting out the legal nightmare of who is financially resonsbile for the child, who can issue orders, etc. In the final analysis, laws like this do not care about the children, it’s strictly a manuevering for those with weak ties to the child to gain control over them.

    • Abeca Christian says:

      Pity? I was hoping you would of used a better word…I would say cry, have compassion, regret, sympathize etc etc for what they are forced to grow up in.

  21. Paul Joseph says:

    This “three-parent” law reflects the commodification of children. The child is no longer a subject, but is made an object, a commodity. Children need and deserve one mother and one father. Homosexual pairs with children pervert parenting for their own selfish ends just as they pervert sexual love.

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