A Canadian judge has declared two men and one woman in a polyamorous relationship to be the legal parents of a child, saying having three parents is in the child’s best interests. “The relationship has been an ongoing stable one since June 2015. None of the partners in the relationship are married and while the identity of the mother is clear, the biological father is unknown,” the Judge said. The judge didn’t ask for a paternity test. “Although outside the traditional family model, the relationship provides a safe and nurturing environment,” Fowler said in the decision. “I can find nothing to disparage that relationship from the best interests of the child.”
To deny this child the dual paternal parentage would not be in his best interests. It must be remembered that this is about the best interests of the child and not the parents.” The three adults brought the case to the court after the Newfoundland Ministry of Service told them that the Vital Statistics Act only allows two parents to be named on a child’s birth certificate. Because the law doesn’t address polyamorous relationships, Fowler relied on a 2007 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, which legally recognized a lesbian couple as the mothers of a child whose biological father was already deemed a legal parent.
“Society is continuously changing and family structures are changing with it,” Fowler said. The judge added Children’s Law Act could not foresee the “complex family relationships that are now accepted in our society.” Last year, an evangelical Christian couple had their application to adopt a child rejected by the government because they did not agree with same-sex marriage. “In order to obtain more inclusive data on sex and gender, Statistics Canada officials have been working with LGBTQ organizations to adjust Census questions and responses to better reflect how people identify themselves, by allowing them to answer in a non-binary fashion,” the proposal stated.
In Ontario, the first known nonbinary, someone who does not identify as either male or female, birth certificate was issued last month. Last summer, Canada passed legislation allowing the “X” gender option to be placed on passports. “All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, able to express their gender as they choose,” Ahmed Hussen, minister of citizenship, said at the time. “By introducing an ‘X’ gender designation in our government-issued documents, we are taking an important step toward advancing equality for all Canadians regardless of gender identity or expression.”
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