Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Cutler

Major

Sociology, American Studies (AMST)

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Fewer than half of all children living in the U.S. live in intact, different-sex, married households. As the shape and structure of the traditional, nuclear family transform in practice, the law dawdles behind. The incongruence between the law and reality often invalidates non-traditional families, rendering them vulnerable without legal recourse. In family law, the rule of two stipulates that each child can have no more than two legal parents. A recent statute in California, the first in the U.S., granted courts the authority to adjudicate more than two legal parents. That statute resulted from a case called In re M.C. in which a court ruled that a child had three legal parents, prompting an immediate reversal of the decision but substantial contemplation as what the next course-of-action should be to protect these families. This thesis investigates parental exclusivity through the following: a historical glance, the politics and jurisprudence of the California case and its consequential statute, as well as the legal obstacles facing the wider campaign to expand the rule of two.

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