ONTARIO, Canada (BP) — Children in Ontario, Canada, may now have up to four legal parents, none of which must be birth parents, under a bill passed by the legislature Tuesday (Nov. 29).
Under the All Families are Equal Act, same-sex couples or a group of up to four adults who agree to have a child, whether through a surrogate mother or artificial insemination, will be legally viewed as parents without any adoption process. They simply must sign a contract to co-parent before the child is conceived.
The bill also changes existing code in the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Vital Statistics Act to “use gender-neutral terminology, where possible,” according to the attorney general’s office.
Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, said the bill, “which purges ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ from our societal vocabulary, and creates a crazy situation where children can have four legal parents, is a direct attack on the family.”
More than one-fourth of the legislature, mostly members of the Progressive Conservative Party, skipped the vote, which was unanimously in favor of the bill.
Those absent included Liberal Party leader Kathleen Wynne and provincial Social Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath, according to Life Site News. Two members of the Liberal Party, known to be practicing Catholics, also skipped the vote.
Progressive Conservative (PC) Party leader Patrick Brown allegedly told members of his party to either vote in favor or be absent, according to Campaign Life Coalition.
Jeff Gunnarson, vice-president of Campaign Life Coalition, called Brown’s move “a complete turnaround” from the party’s traditional stance of letting members vote as they see fit: “What’s worse, no PC [lawmaker] was willing to stand up to Brown’s suppression of their parliamentary right to reflect the wishes of their constituents, and to vote their conscience. This is a sad day for democracy.”
Yasir Naqvi, Ontario’s attorney general, applauded the vote in a statement, saying the act will ensure “that all kids are treated equally by recognizing the legal status of their parents no matter if their parents are [LGBT] or straight, and no matter if they were conceived with the help of assisted reproduction.”
In the United States, New York’s Court of Appeals broadened the definition of parenthood in August to include homosexual couples or unmarried heterosexual couples who agree to have a child together. The decision followed two cases of custody battles between lesbians that split up after deciding to have a child.