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Proposed California Bill Would Allow For More Than Two Parents

State Sen. Mark Leno.
Rich Pedroncelli
State Sen. Mark Leno.

It seems that around the country, the most fervent legal debate around modern families revolves around gay parents.

A California lawmaker is adding to that debate by challenging the notion that a child only has two parents. A bill proposed by Sen. Mark Leno would allow a child to have multiple parents, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Currently California law permits no more than two parents per child.

The Bee adds:

"'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.

"Benjamin Lopez, legislative analyst for the Traditional Values Coalition, blasted Leno's bill as a new attempt to 'revamp, redefine and muddy the waters' of family structure by a leader in the drive to legalize gay marriage.

"'It comes as no surprise that he would try to say that a child has more than two parents — that's absurd,' said Lopez, whose group calls itself a leading voice for Bible-based values."

Sacramento's News10, the ABC affiliate, reports that other states like Pennsylvania, Maine, Delaware and the District of Columbia have similar parentage laws.

This authority can only be used if required to protect the best interest of the child," Leno told News10. "So, if it's not required to protect the best interest of the child, that authority can't be used."

"We're recognizing that families are created in many fashions," Leno added.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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