To: The California State House and Governor Gavin Newsom

Stop Children From Being Taken Away From Their Parents - Bring SB 115 To a Vote

Dear State House,
We support that SB 115 be brought to a vote by the Judicial Committee, and the House, because we believe that no loving parent of any non-traditionally conceived child should be denied their role as mother or father.

Why is this important?

If you're gay, read this. If you're straight, read this.

There's a war going on in California that affects any of us that plan to be parents one day-- especially those of us (gay or straight) who may end up using alternative methods of conception. As a gay man who's trying to start a family with my partner, we're lucky to live in a state that's historically been progressive in regards to non-traditional families-- but as in the case of my brother Jason Patric, there are still ways, no matter what your orientation, to fall through the cracks-- unless, that is, he can have his day in court to demand partial custody of the son he has spent the past three years co-raising. And to have that, we need SB 115 to pass in the California Assembly this month.

Unfortunately, six months ago, Jason's son Gus was taken away unceremoniously by his then girlfriend. After spending three years helping to raise his son, he now is unable to seek formal paternity because of 7630 of the California Family Code-- but the passing of SB 115 will give him the chance to seek custody.

California has a laudable history of crafting legislation to support the intended family structures of people using reproductive technologies-- in many ways, it's a model for the nation. Unfortunately, 7630 of the Family Code inadvertently fails to live up to this standard. It creates more than a rebuttable presumption against a sperm donor (that a court could weigh and set aside based on the evidence of the parties), it creates an absolute ban on fatherhood, despite the intention or action of the parties and despite the best interests of the child. This not only serves to undermine individuals who did not obtain legal advice at the time of insemination, but sees fatherhood as the singular event of procreation, rather than as a process of nurturing a child by bringing it into one’s home and holding it out as one’s child. Surely, that cannot have been the legislature’s intent, as it would be inconsistent with the State’s other legislation that respects family choices of individuals using reproductive technologies and recognizes the benefits to children of supporting familial relationships.

SB 115 will allow courts to provide for father’s rights in cases where the parties are able to establish that their actions proved a father-child relationship rather than rely on a lawyer having prepared a contract about a hypothetical future relationship a donor might have with an unborn child. SB 115 will only bring 7630 in line with other reproductive legislation in the State and could only serve the best interests of the child.

SB 115 goes to a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, August 13th. It is imperative that it gets to the floor for a vote after already passing through the Senate at 38-0.

Please realize that the passing of SB 115 is not only important to my family, but to all parents who want the continued opportunity to be in their child's life.

Joshua John Miller