Canadian court rules child has three parents

Judge recognizes woman and two men with whom she has relationships all as parents of child. 'This is about the child's best interests.'

Tal Polon,

Gavel (illustration)
Gavel (illustration)

A Canadian judge ruled that a woman and two men with whom the woman is in a polyamorous relationship are all legal parents of one child, according to the Canadian Financial Post.

The ruling came after the Newfoundland Ministry of Service refused to list all three adults as parents of the child, who was born last year to the woman, based on the Province’s “Vital Statistics Act,” which the ministry said only allows for the names of two parents on a birth certificate.

In his ruling, Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Family Division argued that the polyamorous relationship in question “has been a stable one and has been ongoing since June 2015.” Further, “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.”

Fowler asserted that recognizing all three adults as parents was in the child’s “best interests.”

“The child, A., 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…. I can find nothing to disparage that relationship from the best interests of the child’s point of view…. 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,” Fowler wrote.

While Canada outlaws polygamy and bigamy, which both involve marriage ceremonies, polyamorous relationships are not prohibited by its criminal code.

According to the Financial Post, the ruling, with its recognition of three parents, represents the first of its kind in Canada.