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Canada court recognizes legal rights of three parents over one child

[JURIST] The Ontario Court of Appeal [official website] has ruled [judgment, PDF] that a Canadian child can legally have three parents - two mothers and a father. The case before the court involved a lesbian couple, together since 1990, one of whom was the biological mother of the five-year-old child, and a biological father who was listed on the child's birth certificate. All three individuals were active in the child's life and the women were not simply willing to adopt the boy because it would mean the father would lose his legal status as a parent. Ontario Justice Marc Rosenberg [official profile] said depriving all three from legal parental roles would be "contrary to (the child's) best interests" and stressed the importance of giving the non-biological mother authority to make decisions for the child in the event of the biological mother's death.

The court's landmark decision last week was met with criticism by the Institute for Canadian Values (ICV) [advocacy website], an opponent of same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive], which was legalized in Ontario in 2003 and in all of Canada in 2005. ICV Executive Director Joseph Ben-Ami released a statement [text] calling the ruling "unnecessary" and an act of "naked judicial activism." Reuters has more.

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