When 3 Really Is A Crowd

New York Times Opinion 16 July 2007
Elizabeth Marquardt, a vice president of the Institute for American Values, is the author of the forthcoming “My Daddy’s Name Is Donor.”

In a Newsweek article last March, polygamist Mark Henkel explained the basis of his argument for “polygamist rights”: If Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy. At the time, even gay activists scoffed at the premise. But as family scholar Elizabeth Marquardt explains in an op-ed today for the New York Times, the courts are redefining parenthood in a way that makes the legal acceptance of that argument all but inevitable.On April 30, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel made history by becoming the first court in the United States to rule that a child can have three legal parents. The case involved two lesbians who were the legal co-parents of two children conceived with sperm donated by a friend. The panel held that the sperm donor and both women were all obligated to financially support the child and were all equally entitled to visitation. By ruling that a child can legally have three parents the court not only severed the legal ties between biology and parenthood but provided a basis for the legal recognition of polygamous marriage.The idea of assigning children three legal parents is not limited to North America. In 2005, expert commissions in Australia and New Zealand proposed that sperm or egg donors be allowed to “opt in” as a child’s third parent. That same year, scientists in Britain received state permission to create an embryo from the DNA of three adults, raising the real possibility that they all could be granted equal legal claims to the child if the embryo developed to term.”If more children are granted three legal parents, what is our rationale for denying these families the rights and protections of marriage?” asks Marquardt. “America, get ready for the group-marriage debate.”


Source: Family Research Council www.frc.org