Three Adults in Polyamorous Relationship Ruled Legal Parents of Child in Canada

Big Valley, CANADA: A weathered Canadian flag flutters in Big Valley north of Calgary, Canada, 11 June, 2007. AFP PHOTO/David BOILY (Photo credit should read DAVID BOILY/AFP/Getty Images)
DAVID BOILY/AFP/Getty Images

Two men in a relationship with a woman have been declared the legal parents of a child in a polyamorous family in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

“Society is continuously changing and family structures are changing along with it,” wrote Justice Robert Fowler of the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court’s family division in his decision, reports the Canadian Press. “This must be recognized as a reality and not as a detriment to the best interests of the child.”

Though the province argued its Children’s Law Act allows only for two individuals to be named as parents on a child’s birth certificate, the three adults took their case to the courts.

“It has been well-established that in dealing with the matters of children, the best interests of a child or children shall always be the determining factors for the courts,” Fowler said in his decision.

“I have no reason to believe that this relationship detracts from the best interests of the child,” the judge added. “On the contrary, to deny the recognition of fatherhood (parentage) by the applicants would deprive the child of having a legal paternal heritage with all the rights and privileges associated with that designation.”

The child was born to the woman in the St. John’s polyamorous relationship in 2017. According to the decision – which does not identify the three members of the relationship – the two men and the woman have been involved for three years, but the biological father of the child is unknown.

The Canadian court has previously recognized three adults as legal parents of a child. The news report observes in 2007 the Ontario Court of Appeals recognized two lesbians as mothers of a child whose biological father had already been ruled a legal parent. However, the three adults in that case were not involved in a polyamorous relationship.

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