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The Kids Are (NOT) Okay

So here's an abomination for your Monday, one that would have been considered a reductio just, say, ten years ago. Of course we aren't going to share a child among three "parents," we would have been told. Well, guess what? The great state of New York is mandating that three adults share custody of one child.

I'll try to summarize the abominable mess briefly: A and B (man and woman) were married. Then they decided to have a "polyamorous" relationship that included C (a woman). B was infertile, so C and A conceived a baby together. Then B and C decided that they wanted to be a woman-woman "couple," so they broke up with A and moved out together. A and B got divorced. Now even the two women are "no longer romantically involved," though it sounds like they might still live together. The story is unclear on that point. The biological son of A and C is now ten years old.

Woman B got worried that, since she isn't the boy's biological mother, nor even in any legally recognized relationship with his biological mother, nor in any legally recognized relationship with his biological father, nor an adoptive parent of the boy, she might at some point not be able to have any relationship with him at all. Woman C supported her getting this cleared up legally and being officially recognized as his "parent." Maybe for political reasons. His father, A, didn't want his ex-wife, who is not related to the boy in any way, to be officially recognized as his "parent," so he opposed it, so it went to court.

Here's the outcome:

On Wednesday, Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge H. Patrick Leis granted Dawn the right to visit with her son on Wednesday nights, and have custody for one week of school vacation and two weeks of summer. In part through interviews with the boy, Leis determined that all three adults were in fact parents to the child—they had shown him love and been involved in his upbringing, and it was in his best interest to continue his relationships with all three of them.

If the two women are still living together, I'm not sure what actual difference this now makes to the boy's living arrangement, since presumably the "custody for one week of school vacation and two weeks of summer" would just look like living with his biological mother and her live-in whatever-she-is-now, as he mostly does anyway. If they are not living together, now or in the future, it means he will literally be shunted around among the homes of three different adults, as he is currently to some degree shuttled back and forth between his biological mother and father.

If you can't see that this is nuts, you need your head examined. And why stop at three? Hey, let's keep going. There are 52 weeks in a year, so maybe that means a kid could have up to 52 different "parents."

Notice Slate's summary of the judge's definition of "parent." One who has "shown him love and been involved in his upbringing." By that definition, all of my church youth leaders were my parents. The boy in this case has been taught that he has two moms and speaks of them accordingly, but that doesn't mean it's "in his best interests" to be in shared custody among three adults.

I don't know where this will end, but we're off to the races now. Will there be a point at which some judge says, "Enough. I will not trade this child among multiple people just to affirm the adults' agenda"? Will a judge be allowed to do that?

Pray for our country.

Comments (14)

Yes, everything about this is nuts. This appears to be yet another case that sees things moving in the direction to where instead of the default being that (biological) parents are presumed to know what is best for their children that instead the state is presumed to know what is best for children. This would allow the state to overrule parental authority of a parent who has not been found unfit (abusive, neglectful, etc).

Who knows what can happen if the law moves fully in that direction. It seems that it opens the door to all sorts of custody claims. What would stop a nanny or daycare person from suing for custody of a kid they have grown attached to and that suit being taken seriously? Also,if the state knows best, what right are parents going to have if say lgbt affirming sex education is mandated and this education is declared a childrens right...i.e. the state has declared it is best for children to receive lgbt affirming sex ed? I read an article today about someone advocating for just that. I dont think that happening is at all far fetched.

This is also a shot across the bow for explicit state approval for polygamy. If a child can have 3 parents, then all the more reason to all the 3 parents to be married to each other.

There is no limit to the nonsense that the state can get itself up to when it sheds reason and nature as its touchstones. Both higher courts and the state legislature should slap this judge down in a most forceful way, because he is clearly taking to himself more authority than he has a right to under the previous standards of judicial powers. The legislature ought to be jealous of its powers here. But it won't happen, because the NYS legislature is composed of wusses and gay advocates. They don't WANT to support the traditional family, even if it does let judges take their own powers away. Stupid jerks.

DR84, that's why the HSLDA has fought so hard against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child being ratified by the U.S. Senate. I had someone once ask me what could be so bad about it, it sounds so benign, just stuff against child soldiers and child slavery, etc. But it contains all sorts of vaguely worded stuff that would definitely have the sort of repercussions you are talking about. For example, I believe there is something about children's rights to healthcare and reproductive blah-blah that would probably be interpreted to strike down state parental consent laws for abortion.

This whole situation is a direct consequence of society having no anchor definition of marriage or, more directly, of no longer acknowledging either God or the natural order as being a necessity in the definition of marriage. Love is no longer willing the authentic good of another for God's sake, but, rather, willing the arbitrary good of the moment. What can one expect of a society where God is, largely, a particular figment of their imagination or, rather, a false construct created by psychologist?

The Chicken

All good comments.

Though, Lydia, I'm sure they'll settle for 12, because that is the number of months in the year. Yes, I know some might go for 365, or even 8760 if you want to go by days or hours. However, they'll realize that such a system would require the child to be moved so frequently on transportation that will increase his carbon footprint and speed up global warming (or something) that this wouldn't be in his best interest.

I recall talking to one of my brother's friends who is studying in some legal-related field. I asked, 'Is gay marriage a right?'

'Of course.' he said.

I asked why. (First I asked about what rights are, where they come from, etc. and got the social contract answer, so not exactly top notch stuff.) But to him it just seemed obvious, that denying it to them deprived them of a good on but the flimsiest pretexts. 'What good? That is, what is marriage?' I asked to no avail.

I tried to get a definition out of him by asking, 'Why can't polyamorous people get married?' The answer was merely circumstantial: there is too few people for it to be an issue. (Check your non-polyamorous privilege, am I right? Also, I wonder how many gay couples have been 'married.' 150,000? 250,000? Well, there are about 500,00 polyamorous 'groups,' (or people in a relationship, I can't recall), so that doesn't seem a good enough reason.)

'But they only have a right to it if we give it to them? If so, if we don't, even if they want it, then we do not' wrong them, do we?'

He kind of agreed.

'So it isn't wrong to deny gay people to have a right to marry, at least before 'we' 'granted' them that right.'

No, I fouled up in my reasoning. He insisted that it was wrong, that they did have a right to marry even before they received legal recognition of that right. But apparently that isn't so with polyamorous people.

I doubt that such a view can be held for much longer. They'll realize, 'Hey by my logic, I should grant them a right to marry, so I'll do that.'

I think if poly relationships are not granted legal marriage recognition it will most likely be because gay activist's by and large end up not wanting to share the prestige of marriage status with poly relationships. When push comes to shove, their basic reasoning always has come down to "because homosexual relationships ought to be honored throughout society". Even they can recognize that if all relationships are honored equally then none are.

My crystal ball is cloudy. I would never have guessed that homosexual "marriage" would get where it is this fast.

So anything I say is going out on a limb. I *think* that most people would find legal recognition of three-or-more groups to be more of a burden than an advantage. For example, you don't want to have to break up your retirement account and share it with two other sexual partners when the three of you break up. However, children are another matter. I'm going to guess that we won't see state laws much less federal court rulings forcing actual "marriage" status among more than two people, at least not any time soon, but that we will see an increasing number of cases like the one in the main post where children are shared out among increasing numbers of people.

One possible way around potential burdens may be an a la carte style "marriage contract". Perhaps those 14 people that want to be "married" want to be able to file taxes jointly, have joint child custody, but still keep their property separate.

Cloudy crystal ball aside, with respect to multiple people sharing custody of a child do you think that it is more likely this will be limited to just cases where all parties want joint custody or do you see a future in which if an outside party petitions for custody over the objections of the parents that the courts will take that person's petition seriously and take it upon themselves to determine if it is in the best interests of a child for this petitioner to have custody of them as well? Come to think of it, one could even see this going a step further and see a future where courts would take it seriously if an outside party sought not to gain equal custody but to replace the custody of an existing parent.

Well, that happens already. Grandparents can file for at least visitation rights for the children. Or grandparents can even bring an accusation that the parent is unfit and petition to be given custody. In fact, I believe this happens all the time in what one might delicately call the inner city. Unwed teenage mother gets pregnant and has a baby, grandmother files a statement that teen mom is unfit (which is probably true), asks for custody in the foster care system. Court awards custody to grandmother and pays her something to take care of the child as a foster parent. Teen mom and baby both live with grandmother. Move on to the next teen pregnancy. Since it is all done on a "best interests of the child" model, courts can get pretty creative when it comes to custody arrangements. However, in these areas they do tend to rely on precedent. So having an unrelated person (as in this case) be given custody will be more likely to depend on a judgement that the person is a *parent*, not just on a judgement that the parent is unfit and they need to find some other relative to care for the child. This is esp. true for custody as opposed to visitation. There's been a loosening of parental rights as far as visitation for a long time. Pretty much any relative can harass you by complaining that you are locking them out of your child's life, etc., and often get a court to take them seriously and give them the right to take your kid to McDonald's once a month or whatever.

Sending the child to live with this unrelated woman for a couple of weeks per year is definitely a step further but also in some degree of continuity with the weakening of parental rights that has gone before.

[If you try to spam other threads with trollish comments that are completely off-topic, you will be stopped. B'bye! LM]

Oh dear...

I'm sorry to report that Catholic credibility on all matters pertaining to sex have been self obliterated for the foreseeable future. Remember, the word "credibility" refers to one's ability to be persuasive in dialog with those of other perspectives.

This doesn't apply when talking with those who already agree with the speaker's perspective, but then we can question the value of preaching to the choir. Such a process is usually little more than a mutual admiration society.

It's of course not fair that all Catholics have been tarnished with the sins of a very small number engaged in unspeakable scandal, but that is the way the world works. It's not that the world assumes all Catholics are engaged in such activities, but that the mere mention of the word "sex" in association with the word "Catholic" now automatically brings up images in the listener's mind which are fatally distracting.

There is a solution. Catholics still have a great deal of well deserved credibility on the subject of public service, so that is where the focus should be placed. This is a topic where non-Catholics will still listen to what Catholics have to say.

Phil, no snark, is it your supposition that Lydia is a Roman Catholic?

And what either my being thought to be a Catholic or Catholic "sins" have to do with whether it's a good idea to give a child in custody to three different adults in rotation is...obscure.

I am sorry, Lydia, but you have credited Phil with FAR too much seriousness and validity with merely calling his comment "obscure". It flat out crazy. Nothing in either the original post, nor the article it refers to, nor 11 comments before Phil's, mentioned anything Catholic. For him to insert Catholicism and certain hyped revelations of the sins of some Catholics (the hype now 15 years old) into this is bizarre. It's freaky. And sickening.

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