Quebec judge urges province to recognize reality of multi-parent families
Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 11, 2018 3:31PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 11, 2018 6:32PM EDT
MONTREAL -- A Quebec judge is inviting provincial lawmakers to consider the possibility of multi-parent families after a complex legal fight involving a little girl and three adults.
The three-year-old's biological father asked to have his name put on the child's birth certificate to replace that of a woman who was considered the toddler's second mother but who is currently transitioning to a male.
He also asked the judge to change the child's last name to his own.
In Quebec, the law recognizes only two parents for a child, and only their names are recorded on the birth certificate.
Superior Court Justice Gary Morrison wrote in a decision in late April that life is complex and limiting a child to two parents doesn't correspond with the social reality in 2018.
He said the best interests of the child would require the law allow recognition -- on an emotional and socio-economic level -- that the girl has three parents.
But the judge ruled he had no choice but to apply the current law, which he said pushed the three into a legal fight and "tried to eliminate one of them."
Given the evidence before him, he chose to put the biological father on the birth certificate but refused to give the child his last name.
In determining which two would have the status of parent, Morrison first concluded the girl was not born through medically assisted reproduction. He then compared the rights of the non-biological mother with those of the biological father.
He said provisions on assisted reproduction stipulate the rights of a biological father can take precedence in certain cases over those of a non-biological mother even if he is simply a sperm donor.
In this case, the man was more than that.
The case originated when the two women, who were married and wanted a child, happened on an Internet posting from a man who also wanted a kid but who was in a relationship with another man.
They met and "merged" their parenthood projects to become three active parents in the child's life, the judge said.
They also signed a legal document with a notary after the birth that gave the father the same status of legal guardian as the two women.
It was only after the birth that the non-biological mother began the process to become a man and wanted the child to call her "Daddy."
Morrison said the two women are involved in divorce proceedings because of the gender-change plan.
While ruling in favour of the man, Morrison said changing the child's name at this stage of her life would not be in her best interests and he noted the three adults agreed on her family name together.
Morrison noted in his judgment that some Canadian provinces and other jurisdictions worldwide recognize that a child can have more than two parents.