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Image / Self / Real-life Stories / Parenthood

Unique families: Gay ‘throuple’ open up about landmark battle to be named their children’s fathers

Congratulations to these dads, who are known as Daddy, Dada, and Papa to their children!

by Jennifer McShane
20th Feb 2021

Photo: @AttitudeMag

Ian Jenkins, Alan Mayfield, and Jeremy Allen Hodges from the US have won a landmark case for all three to be named on their daughter’s birth certificate after a historic intervention by a California court.

The three men are in a committed and healthy relationship, which they refer to as a ‘throuple,’ and in 2017, had their first child, Piper together using an egg donor and surrogate. A year and a half ago, they had a second child, Parker the same way. Now, after an intense court battle, they’ve won the right for all three of them to be listed on their children’s birth certificates and have shared their story – Jenkins has also written a book, titled Three Dads and a Baby, detailing their experience.

The dads also appeared on The Morning Show on Australia’s Channel 7 this week to discuss their unconventional family, so other non-conventional families know that they too can fight for better legal protections.

“The big challenge for us was really the legal challenges, so with surrogacy, you have to have a parentage order from the court declaring who are going to be the legal parents,” Mayfield said on the show.

“In the beginning, we weren’t sure that we could have all three of us on the birth certificate so it became a court process where we argued in court,” he continued. “It was a pretty interesting, tense courtroom scene where at first it seemed like we were not going to be granted that, and we asked to speak in court and plead our viewpoint, and the judge ultimately changed her mind and granted us legal parentage of our child before she was born.”

A unique family setup

They said they understood that they had an unconventional relationship but when it came to their children, they were concerned that their family would lose out if they weren’t legal parents.

“If our child, God forbid, was to end up in hospital, one of the parents might not be able to go visit them,” Hodges said. He also worried that their children wouldn’t be able to use their fathers’ insurance or pension benefits if they weren’t legally made their children’s parents.

“It was really important to be recognised as the family that we are, and thankfully we live in California, which is a state that, after some teeth pulling and fighting, actually did allow us to do that, so that was amazing,” he said.

Having three dads might seem confusing to some, but to Piper and Parker, it’s simple: Hodges is Daddy, Jenkins is Papa and Mayfield is Dada.

“We wanted everyone to know that love makes a family, and families may look different,” Jenkins added, “but if you care about your kids and you’re doing everything you can to give them the best possible childhood, that’s what matters.”

“We wanted people who are in non-traditional families to know that there could be more legal protections available to them and help keep this process moving so that more parents would have the kind of protection we’re enjoying.”

The family might be unique, but love is love.