WA lawmakers weigh non-parental visitation rights

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Associated Press

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 6 at 3:13 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state lawmakers are considering a measure to make it easier for grandparents and others with a close relationship to a child to secure visitation rights.

The bill, which was heard in the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday morning, has bipartisan support but faces opposition from social conservatives, who view it as an attack on parental rights.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Washington state's laws granting visitation rights to third parties when found to be in the child's best interest infringed on the fundamental liberty of parents.

Under current law, parents must be deemed unfit before most third parties can get visitation against the parents' will.

House Bill 1506 would allow courts to grant visitation when failing to do so would likely lead to the child being harmed.

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