California has made it clear, a child cannot have more than two legal parents. But a new bill is trying to change that. SB 1476 would allow a child to have multiple parents. The bill is not meant to expand the definition of who can qualify as a parent. It only allows for a child to have more than two parents.
The bill would allow a judge to expand the number of people who can pitch in to care for a child and lay claim in custody disputes. It would apply equally to men or women, and to straight or gay couples.
Ariel Mackey says she could benefit from having another mommy in her daughter's life.
“I think it's a good idea because when my daughter starts school and if I start to get a job and her dad's working, it would be easier to have an extra parent. They could get here from school, they could tend to her emergencies, kind of like an extra helping hand,” said Mackey.
Brad Castillo has helped dozens of kids find temporary homes through Kids Kasa Foster Care. He says the bill could keep a number of children out of foster care completely. Castillo said, “They're victims of their parent's choices is what they are and so for them to take that child and put them in a home with complete strangers, it just adds trauma to the child's life, so it would be ideal if the judge had the opportunity to say okay, this third parent can now step in and take over this child's life.”
But not everyone is for it. Fresno resident Christopher Emerson said, “It's actually quite ridiculous. I thought parents are supposed to look out for their children. Now they want more than one view? That just doesn't make sense to me.”
Emerson believes the legislation would do more harm than good. He explained, “You're going to have three or four different points of views on just one subject and it's going to create more of a problem among the parents than it already is.”
Opponents say the legislation could result in a child being bounced among multiple adults in a bitter family break up. They add the issue is complex and raises questions that could spark lawsuits.
The bill has already passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly.