But no matter: The court was attempting to do its job, impossible though that may have been in the circumstances. Irene was found to be a “presumed mother.” And since California law does not actually permit a child to have three parents, the courts couldn’t quite bring themselves to place the child with Jesus. All he had going for him was the fact that he was the biological father, not the father created by the legal institution of marriage.
So, naturally, the next step in the long march toward creating a gender-neutral society is to declare that children in California can have three parents. State Senator Mark Leno and head of the LGBT caucus in Sacramento introduced a bill allowing family courts to recognize three parents, if, in their opinion, this would be in the best interests of the child. The three-parent bill passed both houses of the California Assembly and is waiting for Governor Brown’s signature. If he does nothing by September 30, 2012, it will automatically be passed into law.
The solution to this tragic case is not to amend the law to allow three parents. The solution is to amend the law to remove the possibility of a person unrelated to the child either by biology or adoption, being counted as a parent. The solution is to stop requiring a gender-neutral reading of a statute that is based on the biological, gendered facts of human reproduction.
In other words, the way to have kept M.C. out of foster care was to abandon the idea of “marriage equality.” In fact, the voters of California did exactly that, when they passed Proposition 8, affirming that the term “marriage” can only be used to refer to the union of a man and a woman. It is “marriage equality” that created the tragic circumstances of this case.
Marriage is a complex social institution. Not everyone agrees that the essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to each other and to their children. But I do not see how anyone can deny that attaching children to their mothers and fathers is one of the significant social purposes of marriage. And I do not see how any reasonable person can deny that same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples are different with regard to this purpose. It is simply not possible to treat same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples identically in all the areas of law that marriage touches.
M.C.’s situation had an obvious and much less radical solution than a triple-parenting bill: Give the child to her father. She had been in foster care from September 2009 until at least May 2011, when the last appeal was heard. All that time in foster care was totally unnecessary. She was collateral damage from the ill-conceived idea of genderless marriage. Her fate since then is not part of the public record.
This new view of the family gives judges way too much power, and children far too little consideration. This is the world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren. Christians inside and outside of California have a responsibility to make their voices heard.
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