A Canadian family court ruled that a woman and two men in a “polyamorous” relationship are the recognized parents of a child born last year within the three-way relationship, the Financial Post reported.
Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court (Family Division) rendered his ruling two months ago and said the relationship between the three adults in St. John’s “has been a stable one and has been 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,” the paper reported.
The three adults asked the court to be recognized as the child’s parents after the Newfoundland Ministry of Service refused to do so since the Vital Statistics Act allowed only two parents on the child’s birth certificate, the Financial Post said.
Fowler came to a different conclusion.
“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 … 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,” the judge said in his ruling, the paper reported. “It must be remembered that this is about the best interests of the child and not the best interest of the parents.”
More from the Financial Post:
Polyamorous relationships are varied, and may involve a cohabiting group of three or more consenting, informed adults. American research suggests that 1 in 500 Americans are polyamorous, and that more than 500,000 polyamorists live openly in these relationships.
Unlike bigamy and polygamy — which involve marriage ceremonies between the participating parties — polyamorous relationships are not prohibited by the Criminal Code.
Both Canada and the U.S. have innumerable organizations supporting or connecting people in polyamorous relationships: there are 36 in Quebec and Ontario, and 22 in British Columbia alone.
John-Paul E. Boyd, who has written about the polyamorous community in Canada for the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, has defined polyamory as “multiple romantic relationships carried out with certain assumptions and ideals: of honesty and clear agreements among partners, mutual good will and respect among all involved, intense interpersonal communication, and high ethical standards.”
Fowler relied heavily on a 2007 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in which two lesbians wanted to be legally recognized as the mothers of a child, the paper said.
In that case, Justice Mark Rosenberg said a legislative gap precluded a child having two mothers but ruled that “there is nothing in the legislative history of the Children’s Law Reform Act to suggest that the Legislature made a deliberate policy choice to exclude the children of lesbian mothers from the advantages of equality of status accorded to other children under the Act,” the Financial Post said.
Family law legislation across Canada recognizes only one spouse’s obligation to the other, the paper said — so how will the law apply in polyamorous relationships? What if new partners become involved in a polyamorous relationship, and the relationship later breaks down, the Financial Post wondered.
In Canada, the length of time spousal support is paid is usually related to the length of the relationship, the paper noted, adding that in many provinces property value increases (including assets such as pensions) are shared between the date of a couple’s marriage and the date of separation.
But how such issues will be hashed out when “three, four people or more people are involved and have entered the relationship at different times” is anyone’s guess, the Financial Post noted.
Here’s a news report on polyamorous relationships:
(H/T: LifeSite News)