black family*Without a doubt, the state of California is leading the way when it comes to redefining “family.”

According to the Sacramento Bee, judges have moved beyond traditional notions of biology and adoption and have assigned parental rights to adults with no genetic or legal ties to kids.

In a recent Sacramento case, an appeals court said a woman who never adopted her ex-girlfriend’s children was nevertheless their parent because she acted like one – providing for them financially, cleaning up after them when they got sick, and volunteering at their school.

“We’re redefining what constitutes a family,” said McGeorge School of Law Professor Larry Levine, an expert on sexual orientation and the law. “It’s a whole new way of thinking about this.”

In the Dec. 9 ruling, the Sacramento-based 3rd District Court of Appeal said the woman had a good reason for not adopting the children.She was a colonel in the Air Force Reserve and was afraid of being expelled from the military if she violated the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in force at the time. The controversial policy, which began in 1993 and ended in September, barred openly gay men or lesbians from serving in the military.

Read the full story at sacbee.com.