Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Information

Originally published in 16 UCLA Women's L.J. 163 (2007), The Regents of the University of California.


In 1973, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (the Conference) proposed a Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) that radically changed how parentage was determined in the United States. Prior to 1973, the parentage laws of most states failed to identify two legal parents for thousands of children merely because their parents were not married. These "illegitimate" children were considered a "child of no one" under the law and were denied the significant emotional, financial, and legal benefits of having two legal parents. By the early 1970s, however, the conference recognized that such treatment of children was becoming scientifically, socially and legally untenable and took the "revolutionary" step of promulgating an act that identified two legal parents for both marital and nonmarital children. This choice, though radical at the time, 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, which identified two legal parents for all children conceived through sexual intercourse, the 2000 UPA does not identify two legal parents for all children conceived via ART. Instead, the 2000 UPA leaves the thousands of children conceived via ART and born to same-sex couples in the emotionally, financially, and legally vulnerable position of having only one legal parent. This article examines the arguments that shaped the 1973 UPA and concludes the same arguments should have resulted in a more progressive UPA in 2000 that identified two legal parents for the thousands of children conceived through ART and born to same sex couples.