Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Three Parents, or None?

A lesbian couple wanted a baby, so one of them got pregnant with the help of a sperm donor. The baby was born. Then the lesbians split up. Then the sperm donor got sued for child support. And then, in a surreal conclusion to the whole disaster, the Pennsylvania Superior Court declared that all three adults are the child's legal parents, with all the rights that married parents have who make kids the usual way. Elizabeth Marquardt has a very calm op-ed in the New York Times about the legal earthquake that this decision makes.

What impresses me most about this case is not so much that this poor kid has three parents, as that he barely has one.

1 comment:

mjf said...

I know Dale Carpenter is one of the (self-admitted) few people for same-sex marriage that also professes to have a strong respect for marriage as a mooring for procreation in society.

But it is sad commentary that his take on this case winds up spending more time justifying the involvement of the father than the ex-lover of the mother. Her involvement is almost a given, because of her de-facto status. But his status as someone who wanted no more involvement, and played the role we already accept with abandonment -- "donor" required more
reasoning.

And yet far more time was spent trying to tell us that their homosexual relationship attempting to mimic procreation, and subsequently gay marriage (which they both were trying to achieve but only had a civil union) had nothing to do with their predicament. Is the connection so lost on Carpenter? Well, yes, as he argues that presumably establishing gay marriage would have dissuaded this condition.

Sara Butler Nardo pointed out how de-facto parenting is mostly a need of the parents based on tautological contrivance. Oh how Carpenter becomes the very example of the point, even when trying to actively argue against that conclusion.

Perhaps this is more reason why the explicit and socially derived link between Civil Union and marriage is so important to consider.