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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Biological, Adoptive, Foster and DeFacto?

In Washington, the state supreme court ruled yesterday that a former lesbian, live-in can seek parental rights for the child of a former lover. In what the majority opinion calls "de facto parent," former lesbian lovers have now may granted the same legal rights biological and adoptive parents. The 7-2 decision states, "Neither the United States Supreme Court nor this court has ever held that 'family' or 'parents' are terms limited in their definition by a strict biological prerequisite."

In like manner, today a farmer filed a lawsuit on behalf of a horse desiring the parental rights of a neighbor's child. The lawsuit stated that both in spatial proximity and the closeness that the animal felt to the child while she was riding it, that full legal rights should be granted. When asked whether or not the animal provided parental care for the child, the horse responded by saying [via the farmer], "I provided transportation, recreation, and friendship. She told me her secrets and we loved spending time together. She spent more time with me than her biological parents. And, after all, "Neither the United States Supreme Court nor this court has ever held that 'family' or 'parents' are terms limited in their definition by a strict biological prerequisite."

Ridiculous? Absolutely. Debunk this mytholgy takes us back to freshmen year, Logic 101: Logical Fallacies. Argumentum ex silentio [argument silence] is a logical fallacy that states, “silence about something does not imply its positive or negative correlation.” For example, I ask a question that you choose not to answer. This does mean you consented to a positive or negative response to my question. In like manner, just because the SCOTUS has not defined family or parent does not mean we should let lesbians and horses claim parental rights.

In the dissenting opinion, Justice James Johnson stated, "Regardless of the various sexual orientation claims, the outcome must be that a mother has a fundamental right to make decisions for her child," he wrote. "...Worse, in my view, the majority here looks beyond a detailed and complete statutory scheme adopted by the Washington Legislature and creates by judicial decree a new method for determining parentage." That's right, the court ignored the "complete statutory scheme adopted by the Washington Legislature" and advocated for judicial activism in its most explicit sense.

Was defining "parentage" so difficult in the 1950's? Mom and dad were the majority options; some lesser used terms included foster mom or step-dad. Now we have donor-dads, both my mommies, and now “de facto parents”. Are our children better off now than they were in then? In no sense, form or fashion, could anyone answer positively. The confusion over parent identity creates an unsafe environment inspiring a lack of confidence and a lack of stability essential to producing healthy children. Our children suffer at the hands of unelected and unaccountable judges bent on redefining our societal norms.

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