SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA- A push to help give equal footing to parents in gay relationships is likely to give an unintended benefit to Step parents. The pending bill was first imagined by California State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) as a way to grant rights to couples where only is a biological parent. When gay couple with kids split up there is always the potential that one of the parents will be left with no legal rights. The bill will bridge this gap and give some legal rights to the non-bio parent.
This is great news for Stepdads. In California -as with all of the US, step parents have nearly no legal rights with regards to their non-biological kids. The current situation: If a Stepdad in California marries a woman in California while she is pregnant with another man’s child and then spends the next 16 years raising the child with her, then divorces. He has no legal right to visitation. The bill’s wording says it would “…authorize the court to make this finding if doing so would serve the best interest of the child based on the nature, duration, and quality of the presumed or claimed parents’ relationships with the child and the benefit or detriment to the child of continuing those relationships.” The end result: Stepdads would be judged based on their ability to be a good parent instead of their biological connection to their kids.
The bill has come under fire by conservative groups already. Benjamin Lopez of the Traditional Values Coalition has voices strong opposition, saying Leno’s bill is trying to “muddy the waters” of the traditional family. No matter what your position is on gay couples- ultimately this bill does something for Stepdads that is long overdue.