From Right to Wrong: A Critique of the 2000 Uniform Parentage Act
Mary Patricia Byrn
William Mitchell College of Law
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-42
In 1973, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (the Conference) proposed a Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) that sought to treat all children equally by removing the legal distinction between marital and nonmarital children. The 1973 UPA demonstrated the progressive thinking of the Conference and led to similar changes in the parentage laws of every state in the country. In 2000, the Conference promulgated a new Uniform Parentage Act that includes broad provisions for determining parentage of children conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Unlike the 1973 UPA, however, this Act does not attempt to treat all children equally. Instead, the 2000 UPA leaves thousands of children conceived via ART and born to same-sex couples in the emotionally and financially vulnerable position of having only one legal parent.
This article analyzes the scientific advancements, social movements, and Supreme Court precedent that convinced the Conference to recognize both parents of nonmarital children in the 1973 UPA and argues that similar scientific advancements, social movements, and Supreme Court precedent existed in support of recognizing both parents of children conceived through ART and born to same-sex couples in the 2000 UPA. When faced with these arguments in 1973, the Conference made a bold - and ultimately overwhelmingly successful - choice. In 2000, however, the Conference made a short-sighted decision and proffered a model act that fails to address the needs of courts and states facing parentage determinations for these children throughout the country.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 53
Keywords: Uniform Parentage Act, Parentage, Same-Sex Couples, Assisted Reproductive Technology
Date posted: September 6, 2006