Canadian Judge Rules Child Born to Polyamorous Trio Has Three Parents
A Newfoundland judge has declared a polyamorous trio of one woman and two men all legal parents of the child the woman gave birth to last year. The decision appears to be the first of its kind in Canada.
In ruling on the case, Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Family Division observed the child was born in 2017 as the result of a polyamorous relationship between two men and one woman he described as “stable and ongoing” since June 2015.
“None of the partners in this relationship is married and, while the identity of the mother is clear, the biological father of the child is unknown,” wrote Fowler. The judge did not seem aware of the existence of paternity tests.
The three adults went to court after the Newfoundland Ministry of Service refused to list them all as parents because the province’s Vital Statistics Act allows for the names of only two parents on a child’s birth certificate.
Fowler ruled having three parents was in the child’s best interests.
“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 best interest of the parents,” he wrote.
The child “has been born into what is believed to be a stable and loving family relationship which, although outside the traditional family model, provides a safe and nurturing environment,” Fowler opined.
“I can find nothing to disparage that relationship from the best interests of the child’s point of view.”
REAL Women vice president Gwen Landolt blasted the ruling as “truly shocking.”
She warned the decision legitimizes polyamorous relationships and paves the way for legislation to accommodate the parental recognition demands of polyamorous groupings.
Fowler’s ruling is “not based on common sense, or understanding of human nature, or of what’s necessary for a child,” she told LifeSiteNews.
Fowler characterized the trio as having “a loving stable family relationship, then he notes it’s only been around since June 2015,” Landolt said. “To call this a stable relationship after three years is politically correct nonsense.”
The judge also described the three-way relationship as providing “a safe and nurturing environment,” Landolt said.
“Obviously he knows nothing of human beings when he says that. It’s obviously, clearly not in the best interests of the child.”
Canada’s Criminal Code does not prohibit polyamorous relationships, wrote Toronto lawyer Laurie H. Pawlitza in the Financial Post. But, does ban bigamy and polygamy, which involve marriage contracts between multiple partners.
“Polyamorous relationships are varied, and may involve a cohabiting group of three or more consenting, informed adults,” she writes.
In his ruling, Fowler cited the 2007 Ontario Court of Appeal AA vs BB decision, in which the court recognized both members of a lesbian couple and a biological father as parents of a five-year-old boy.
REAL Women intervened in that case, and warned at the time the ruling was a dangerous precedent, Landolt told LifeSiteNews.
Fowler also noted his province’s legislation had not foreseen the legal issues arising from polyamorous relationships.
“There is little doubt that the legislation in this Province has not addressed the circumstance of a polyamorous family relationship as is before this Court, and that what is contemplated by the Children’s Law Act is that there be one male and one female person acting in the role of parents to a child,” he observed.
In the Act, there is no reference “which would lead one to believe that the legislation in this province considered a polyamorous relationship where more than one man is seeking to be recognized in law as the father (parent) of the child born of that relationship,” Fowler writes.
Landolt says now that Fowler’s ruling has “legitimized” polyamorous relationships by casting them as “stable and loving,” that will change.
She predicts legislation to regulate the parental tangles of polyamorous entanglements will soon follow.