Saturday, December 24, 2011

California courts redefining who counts as a parent - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee

California courts redefining who counts as a parent - Sacramento News - Local and Breaking Sacramento News | Sacramento Bee:

California courts redefining who counts as a parent

hsangree@sacbee.com

PUBLISHED WEDNESDAY, DEC. 21, 2011


Even as the definition of family in America expands and shifts, California courts are trying to keep pace by redefining whom the law regards as parents.

Judges have moved beyond traditional notions of biology and adoption and have assigned parental rights to adults with no genetic or legal ties to kids.

In a recent Sacramento case, an appeals court said a woman who never adopted her ex-girlfriend's children was nevertheless their parent because she acted like one – providing for them financially, cleaning up after them when they got sick, and volunteering at their school.

"We're redefining what constitutes a family," said McGeorge School of Law Professor Larry Levine, an expert on sexual orientation and the law. "It's a whole new way of thinking about this."

In the Dec. 9 ruling, the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal said the woman had

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