“The Change Has Already Happened; it’s only the law that lags”

In a wonderful multi-page spread in this week’s Newsweek magazine (http://www.newsweek.com/2011/01/30/meet-my-real-modern-family.html) writer Andrew Solomon describes his complex and loving family. He and his husband are co-parents, plus they are each the biological father of a total of three children born to various of their friend’s. It takes a complicated chart to explain the relationships (and the article includes just such a chart) but it’s a wonderful photos of the happy extended family that tells the real story.

It’s immediately obvious that traditional parentage law was not written to address this sort of family. There are legal relationships between several of the parties, but the biological ties don’t follow the legal connections. And most importantly, the emotional connections transcend the legal rules. Andrew and his husband would not be recognized in most of the states of this country, and in some jurisdictions their connections to their own child would be disregarded. Under the laws of most states the two dads are mere “sperm donors,” but in fact they are quite involved in the lives of all their children.

Let’s all hope they never have to deal with the legal system in any conflicts between any of them. They will face enough challenges making sure that their relationships are honored by state and federal government agencies! Andrew’s comments – quoted at the top of this post – says it all. Ideally it will not take long before the law indeed catches up to this wonderful new form of family.

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