Bipartisan Support Helps The Massachusetts House Pass The Divisive Parentage Act

( – Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage on May 17, 2004. It was the first state to allow such unions. However, there were still a lot of questions in the air as to the legal parentage of children, particularly those born to same-sex parents and from assisted reproduction, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or surrogacy. A new controversial law passed in the state aims to address those issues.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously approved the Parentage Act, legislation that creates legal parentage for those who have played a significant role in a child’s life. It also ensures that every kid has the same protections and rights to parentage, regardless of their parents’ gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or whether they were conceived naturally or through reproductive assistance measures. Those who have served in a parental role for extended periods could also pursue legal rights.

The bill goes even further and establishes legal avenues for those who are using IVF or surrogacy to claim parentage even before the child is born. It was well received in the House with bipartisan support, but some argue that it goes too far.

Critics say the provisions related to surrogacy should be questioned because they commodify children and, at the same time, undermine the traditional family structure. For example, they say that as-is, the legislation allows for surrogacy without a contract, which could lead to questions about legal parentage down the line and potential exploitation issues.

Proponents of the legislation, however, say it’s been a long time coming. Representative Michael S. Day (D) said the state legislature “acted to ensure that if you are a parent, whether a biological parent or not, the law will recognize you […] just as society does.”

The bill will now head to the state Senate, where lawmakers are expected to pass it.

Copyright 2024,