Troubling Parentage Bill Resurrected
Troubling Parentage Bill Resurrected
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   03.17.15

State Representative Kelly Burke (D-Evergreen Park) has reintroduced the Parentage Act of 2015 (now HB 1531). The bill’s sponsors have caved to the anti-family dictates of homosexuals who demanded troubling language be restored to a prior incarnation of the bill. In their selfish desire to use law to affirm their unions as equivalent to heterosexual unions, homosexuals are desperate to sever any connection in thought, language, and law between biology and parentage. As it stands now, this bill is yet another incremental way the law will be used to undermine the cultural understanding of parentage and the rights of children.

Presumption of parentage 

In the original bill, first proposed by Kelly Burke in 2013, the “presumption of parentage” section defined the ways a man is presumed to be the parent of a child and the ways a woman is presumed to be the parent of a child born to another woman. Here is the language to which conservative lawmakers and attorneys objected:

A woman is presumed to be the parent of a child if she and the natural mother of the child were in a state-recognized civil union or marriage at the time of the birth and the natural father of the child has not commenced an action to establish his parentage. 

Lawmakers and adoption attorneys rightly objected to this language for several reasons:

  1. Persons who cannot possibly be related to a child should not be legally presumed to be a parent. If passed, for the first time in Illinois history, the law would no longer presume that every child has a father.  It would presume that the same-sex partner of a biological mother is a parent of the child—even when a child was not conceived through artificial insemination. Such language would make it far too easy for a lesbian partner to be legally declared the parent of a child to whom she is biologically unrelated. If passed, a biologically-unrelated lesbian would not have had to adopt a baby born to her partner to be considered its legal parent.
  1. Even though Illinois adoption laws allow adults to have access to their birth records, children born to a woman in a relationship with a woman will have no access to any information about their fathers.

Historically, when society was far wiser, such wording would have been rightly considered absurd. The presumed parent of a child born of a mother would be a father and, therefore, a man.

The language in this section of the bill implicitly acknowledges the truth that each child has two parents. Unfortunately, it also embodies the fanciful notion that the sex of the two parents is irrelevant. Once the gender of parents is deemed irrelevant, however, it’s difficult to justify limiting the number of parents to two. After all, the historical understanding that each child should have two parents was based on the recognition that there exist two sexes, and it is the sexual union of one of each that produces children who need, want, and deserve to be raised by both.

Because ideas have consequences, we are already seeing the poisonous fruit produced by the idea that gender is irrelevant to both marriage and parenting. The political movement is afoot to legalize plural unions and to recognize in law 3, 4, or more parents.

So, in response to objections from conservative lawmakers, the bill’s sponsors offered an amendment to the original 2013 bill that removed the objectionable language regarding the presumption of parentage for biologically-unrelated lesbian partners.

As you may have guessed, homosexuals, never concerned about the right of children to be raised whenever possible by a mom and dad, stomped their feet and (ironically) called foul.  The bill was pulled.

Now it’s back in a version that reaffirms the Left’s lack of concern for children’s rights and needs while it serves the desires of homosexuals. It does so by replacing “man” (you know, the male kind of man who is naturally accoutered with a penis) with the gender-free “person.” Any “person” who’s in a legal marriage or civil union before the birth, at the time of the birth, or within 300 days following the birth of a baby is presumed to be the parent.

Even more stunning, if a same-sex “marriage” or civil union is declared invalid or is dissolved prior to a baby’s birth, a biologically-unrelated lesbian would still be presumed to be the baby’s parent if the birth takes place within 300 days following the legal dissolution of the marriage. So, if a lesbian “marriage” were to end and one of the partners were to have a one-night stand with an actual man and give birth within 299 days, her former lesbian partner could claim parental status.

Full faith and credit provision 

Other troubling language is found in Section 311:

A court of this State shall give full faith and credit to a valid acknowledgment or denial of parentage effective in another state if the acknowledgment or denial has been signed and is otherwise in compliance with the law of the other state.

The problem is that California, Louisiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, and Alaska allow the legal recognition of three (or in CA, more) parents. In order to prevent such an abuse of the rights of children, HB 1531 needs to be amended to include this:

The public policy of Illinois shall prohibit any action, adjudication, or order that would permit a child to have more than two legally recognized parents at any given time. 

Kelly Burke has steadfastly refused to include this language in the bill, which clearly shows the intent of liberals to force Illinois to recognize three or more legal parents.


It’s important when reading any proposed bill to think not just about what the bill’s sponsors claim the purpose of the bill is but also about how the language in the bill could conceivably be interpreted and applied.

All children have a mother and a father. Due to death and human failing, however, some children are deprived of the love and nurturing of either a mother or father or both. In those cases, society historically sought through adoption by a mother and father to recreate the family structure all children deserve. The beauty of adoption was that while solving the problems of motherlessnes and fatherlessness, it also solved the problem of infertility.

But no longer.

The selfish desires of homosexuals now supersede the needs and rights of children and vitiate marriage and family.

As liberals seek to recreate marriage in their own sexually-anarchical image, they continually claim that the government needs to stay out of the bedroom. This 284-page bill proves that the more marriage is conceived of as wholly unrelated to reproductive potential, and the more society severs child-bearing and child-rearing from sex and marriage, the more government involvement we will have in marriage.

Take ACTION:   Click HERE to send an email or fax to your state representative to ask him/her not to legislate away God-given parental rights to adults who are neither the biological nor adoptive parents of children. Urge your state lawmaker to let stand Illinois’ existing parentage law, which better reflects truth about children’s needs and rights.  You can also call the Capitol switchboard at (217) 782-2000.


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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins became the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High...
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