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Parents in same-sex marriage may soon have their roles defined

With more and more states recognizing same-sex marriages, it is likely inevitable that more accommodating laws will be proposed over time. A bill that recently passed at California state assembly level allows couples in a same-sex marriage to be able to define each parent's role as father or mother on the birth certificate of a child. The sponsor of the bill said that there should be no discrimination against same-sex parents when they complete the details of a birth certificate and that classifications should be more accommodating.

A leader of the opposition against this bill fears that it could cause uncertainty and insecurity in the children of such a marriage. He asserts that such action would damage the normal development of a child. He also believes that a woman defining herself as a father and a man defining himself as a mother would ultimately confuse a child.

While supporters of the bill argue that defining the parents’ roles accurately will be beneficial for the family unit, opposing voices worry about the bill not limiting the number of parents listed on a birth certificate. They believe that this could cause even more confusion. Depending on the viewpoint of an individual, the ability of each parent to declare his or her parental role on a child's birth certificate could either be seen as beneficial or detrimental. Regardless of one's beliefs, this and other similar bills could eventually create many complexities in child custody and parental right issues following a divorce of a same-sex couple.

This proposed bill is the first of a kind and, as with other laws relating to same-sex matters, it may also permeate into states that have already legalized same-sex marriages. Whether the bill will be passed by the California Senate is yet to be determined. It's passing would certainly be a win for the gay and lesbian community. Until this time, couples in California who are in a same-sex marriage may want to confirm their options under state law before completing a birth certificate for a child.

Source:, "Introducing the `modern` California family", Rachel Lynn Aldrich, May 20, 2014

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