The U.S. Supreme Court found that the Illinois law on wed fathers violated “substantive due process” by requiring unwed fathers to establish their fitness as parents in legal proceedings, while married fathers had to make no such proof. The “substantive due process” construct allows the Court to jettison the considered judgment of elected state representatives as well as thousands of years of human history in order to enshrine the crackpot ideas of liberals as the law of the land. The Court discovered it had this power sometime in the 1960s. For the first two centuries of the nation's history, we had small governing units across the nation called “states.” These “states” would pass laws to govern people within their boundaries. The rulers of these governing units were elected by the people in a briefly popular system of government known as “democracy.”
A few years after Stanley, the Supreme Court was required to issue opinions further explaining an unwed father's rights. In Quilloin v. Wal-cott (1978) and Caban v. Mohammed (1979), the Court held that the Constitution required courts to examine the level of interest the sperm donor had shown in his child before allowing him to disrupt an adoption, including long hearings into “the best interests of the child”— hearings that anyone could see were unquestionably not in the best interests of the child.
It was only a matter of time before the new rights the Court had accorded unwed fathers would involve an adulterer claiming rights against the cuckolded husband. In Michael H. v. Gerald D. (1989), the Court acknowledged the concept of “marriage”—eighteen years too late—and denied the male mistress rights to the child he conceived with a married woman. But the opinion rejecting the adulterer's claims to his biological child was a shockingly narrow 5–4 decision. All five justices who ruled against the adulterer were appointed by Republican presidents. One more vote for the dissent and courts would be forcing innocent husbands to leave their homes every other weekend so that the men who cuckolded them could have visitation time with the kids.
Justice William Brennan's blistering dissent was the perfect distillation of liberal thinking: The wisdom of all previous ages—circa 4500 B.C. to 1989—amounted to mere “prejudices and superstitions.” The traditional idea of a “family” as comprising a husband, a wife, and their children, Brennan said, would turn the Constitution into “a stagnant, archaic, hidebound document steeped in the prejudices and superstitions of a time long past.” Brennan claimed to be arguing for “tolerance” of those with “idiosyncrasies”—that is, people who enjoy pursuing adulterous liaisons. He pretentiously cited the “freedom not to conform.” But as Justice Antonin Scalia pointed out in the majority opinion, one way or another, somebody loses rights. Rights are a zero-sum game. If the Court were to grant the male mistress his “freedom not to conform,” it would rather severely constrict the husband's “freedom to conform.” Brennan's dissent is like one of those snowy globes filled with floating flakes of liberal fantasies in an imaginary landscape. It's a perfect encapsulation of the sweet little dreams … of those who are barking mad.
Although Brennan claimed to be interpreting a new, hip Constitution, it was a Constitution that existed only in his head. In every one of these cases, the Supreme Court was being asked to overrule lower courts that had upheld state laws reflecting the traditional view of marriage. The justices who argued against overruling long-standing laws warned of what would be lost. In Caban, for example, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote—in dissent, “All of these children have an interest in acquiring the status of legitimacy; a great many of them have an interest in being adopted by parents who can give them opportunities that would otherwise be denied; for some, the basic necessities of life are at stake.” He was right. And no one, not even Justice Stevens, can remember his argument today.
In a couple of decades’ time, Brennan's view had completely triumphed. It seems as though it was a million years ago that there were privileges and obligations that flowed from marriage—and marriage alone. Marriage may have won a nail-biting victory over adultery in Michael H. v. Gerald D., but it was too little too late. In short order, courts and legislatures would be giving unwed mothers rights to the bank accounts of the fathers of children born out of wedlock, giving unwed fathers rights to their biological children living with adoptive parents, and giving illegitimate children inheritance rights to their biological fathers’ estates.
Illegitimacy increased not because of neglect or accident but because of an idiotic idea aggressively pursued by self-righteous people who had worked it all out on paper. Then they returned to their exclusive doorman buildings or lush suburbs where they would never personally experience the consequences of the traditional family's destruction. It wasn't inevitable social decay that destroyed the family, it was a plan.
At least the social workers are thriving.
With the Supreme Court having augustly ruled that a one-night stand gives a man a constitutional right to disrupt his biological child's life, in no time at all cads were enjoying their new rights. By the 1990s, unwed—and frequently unemployed—biological fathers were ripping the products of their sexual conquests from the homes of loving adoptive families.
Perhaps the most infamous case involved “Baby Richard,” as the courts called him, born in 1991. Baby Richard's mother, the pregnant, unwed Daniela Janikova, ditched the father, Otakar Kirchner, after he returned to their native Czechoslovakia and allegedly started dating another girl. With Kirchner still out of the country, Janikova moved into a home for abused women, saying she had been physically abused. She gave the baby up for adoption four days after his birth and later told Kirchner the baby had died. The adoptive parents, fireman Jay Warburton and his wife Kimberly, legally adopted the boy, named him Danny, and raised him as their own along with an older biological son.
Months later, Kirchner returned to America, found out Janikova had given up their illegitimate son for adoption, and decided he wanted the child back. Under thousands of years of Anglo-Saxon law, this would have been ludicrous. If Kirchner wanted rights to his child, he had better have been married to the mother when the child was born. But since the Supreme Court had declared marriage just a smelly old hidebound institution, Kirchner was in the game!
Pursuant to our new Brennan-invented traditions, when Danny was almost four years old, Illinois Supreme Court justice James Heiple ordered that the terrified child be torn away from the only parents he had ever known and handed over to a biological father he had never met. For people who hysterically denounce the influence of genetics on personality and intelligence, liberals seem to have a supernatural belief in the genetic attachment of a man to his sperm. During the court-ordered wrenching on April 30, 1995, Danny cried to his parents, “Please, Mommy, no! I'll be good. Don't make me leave. I'll be good.”124
Danny's adoptive parents appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear the case. To return Danny to his adoptive parents would have been to defer to the “stagnant, archaic, hidebound” tradition of marriage firmly rejected by the Court years earlier. Janikova and Kirchner eventually married, but less than two years after taking Danny from his adoptive parents, Kirchner left again, leaving his son behind. Although he returned sometime later, during the period he absconded on his wife and biological son an interesting legal wrinkle appeared. Mrs. Kirchner had no independent parental right to Danny since she had relinquished that right when she gave him up for adoption.
Nonetheless, the Warburtons never saw Danny again. The last time Danny's mother spoke to him was the night he was taken away from them. He called from Otakar Kirchner's house and told her, “I love you, Mommy. I'm coming home now.”125
A few years later, Danny's psychologist Karen Moriarty, who had been hired by the biological father, sued Chicago Tribune columnist Bob Greene for suggesting that she planned to write a book about Baby Richard. She claimed not only that she had no intention of writing a book about Baby Richard, but that it was defamatory per se for Greene to imply that she had any idea of writing a book.126 In 2003, Moria
In another case at about the same time, the “Baby Jessica” case, an unwed mother in Iowa, Cara Clausen, gave her baby up two days after the child's birth in 1991. She listed her then-boyfriend as the father on the child's birth certificate and both parents formally agreed to the adoption. A married couple from Michigan drove to Iowa to take custody of the baby girl and began the process of adoption. But a few weeks later the mother broke up with the boyfriend she had named as the father and resumed relations with an ex-boyfriend, Dan Schmidt, who she now said was the real father. Schmidt decided he wanted the baby. Two and a half years later, “Baby Jessica” was ripped away from the only parents she had ever known and given to the biological father.
Naturally, the unwed fathers taking their biological children from adoptive families portrayed themselves as … victims! To win in America, one must always be the first to claim victim status. Fathers’ rights groups battled with women's rights groups over who was the greater victim, and in the process created real victims out of their children. The only point both sides seemed to agree on was that marriage is irrelevant. The institution that had protected children for thousands of years was gone. Just twenty years after Stanley, it was as if the concept of marriage had never existed.
The Supreme Court's destruction of marriage is the perfect example of Chesterton's remark that “When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws.”127 Having decided in Stanley that being married to the mother was not necessary for a man to have rights to his children, the Supreme Court, together with lower courts and state legislatures, spent the subsequent three and a half decades trying to formulate substitute rules to govern unwed parents. But without the concept of marriage, this is like trying to rewrite the rules of baseball without a ball. Courts and legislatures have simply crafted a patchwork of new rules that are a pale imitation of the traditional law of marriage.
After a raft of these adoption cases in the early nineties, with unwed fathers being lied to by their pregnant girlfriends, leading to stomach-turning scenes of children being ripped from happy adoptive homes, states responded by trying to re-create the benefits of marriage— without marriage. Most states now have some form of paternity registry, requiring unwed fathers to stake their claim to illegitimate children within six months of the child's birth to have standing to bring lawsuits upending the child's life. Marriage used to do that without vast phalanxes of social workers having to maintain a “paternity registry.”
Say, you know what would be great? It would be great if we had some way of determining who the father is, by law, at the moment a child is born. Also mothers should try to get some sort of commitment from the father to stay with her and raise their child together before bringing a child into the world. Maybe couples planning on having children together could have one of those “commitment” ceremonies the gays have. Justice Brennan might respect a “commitment” ceremony. Just don't call it “marriage.”
It never occurs to anyone to simply return to the original rule: Unless a man is married to a woman when she gives birth to his child, he has no rights to that child, and unless a woman is married to a man when she gives birth to his child, she has no right to his paycheck or his time.
Surveying the wreckage wrought by the destruction of the legal incidents of marriage, a columnist in the New York Times exulted, “Surely this change is a welcome corrective to the injustice of traditional marriage laws and family values that stigmatized ‘bastards’ for life.”128 Except that one can't help noticing how many more “bastards” there are now that the stigma has been removed.
IT ONLY TOOK A FEW INANE SUPREME COURT RULINGS IN THE 1970s to make the idea of marriage fly completely out of the head of Illinois Supreme Court justice James Heiple and his cohorts in various courts across the nation. How much more vulnerable to the loss of this idea are young, stupid women?129
Inasmuch as broken families are almost entirely a problem of the underclass in America, it is fatuous to imagine that popular culture doesn't influence these most feckless of citizens. Liberals believe that the pathetic waifs with the “pregnancy pact” at Gloucester High School are too stupid to know how to use a condom—as if they wanted to—but are sophisticated enough to completely ignore a pop culture that ferociously glamorizes single motherhood. We've got tabloids and glossy magazines touting the unwed pregnancies of starlets, Christian ministers referring to unwed mothers like they're Jesus on the cross, and a popular culture that can conceive of no greater barbarity than waiting for marriage to have sex. Hmmm, I wonder if that has had any effect on the increase in illegitimate children being born to girls with massively low self-esteem?
A real estate broker in Atlanta—not a teenage runaway—told the New York Times she decided to become a single mother by in vitro fertilization because she “concluded that it has quietly become a socially acceptable choice, if only because so many are making it.”130 An adult with a job in a major city can't resist the pop culture hype about single motherhood. How much more vulnerable is a teenage girl from a broken family?
Among the movies featuring single mothers are Look Who's Talking (1989), Stella (1990), Mermaids (1990), Gas Food Lodging (1992), Forrest Gump (1994), Losing Isaiah (1995), As Good as It Gets (1997), Anywhere but Here (1999), Tumbleweeds (1999), The Next Best Thing (2000), Chocolat (2000), Erin Brockovich (2000), You Can Count on Me (2000), The Princess Diaries (2001), Hearts in Atlantis (2001), White Oleander (2002), Eight Crazy Nights (2002), Freaky Friday (2003), Secondhand Lions (2003), SherryBaby (2006), and Superman Returns (2006).
I guess Hollywood got Dan Quayle back!
At the 2001 Academy Awards, three of the five women nominated for Best Actress played single mothers: Julia Roberts, who won the Oscar for her role in Erin Brockovich, as well as Juliette Binoche for Chocolat and Laura Linney for You Can Count on Me. (A fourth nominee, Ellen Burstyn, played a widow in Requiem for a Dream.) “This isn't a fad, it's a trend that reflects reality,” said Jeff Sharp, a producer of You Can Count on Me. “There are increasing numbers of strong, successful women who are raising families and having a career without a partner.”131 Describing her role as a single mother in Anywhere but Here, Susan Sarandon, who has three children with two men to whom she has not been married, said, “It's just a very rich area to explore.” Actress Janet McTeer, portraying a single mother in the movie Tumble-weeds, explained the prevalence of single mothers in Hollywood movies, saying, “It's more typical for a woman to have to raise children on her own. It's a theme that can be endlessly explored.”132
We're constantly told that the underclass is trapped by circumstances, unaware of the option of waiting until marriage to have children. Maybe other choices would come into focus more clearly if Hollywood didn't have a new Hays standard prohibiting movies and TV shows from showing married people having children.
All sentient human beings know that single motherhood is ruinous for children, but meanwhile, the mainstream media and Hollywood studios are constantly issuing propaganda about the joys and triumphs of single motherhood. Babytalk magazine actually titled an article “Married vs. Single Moms: Who's Got the Better Deal?” The magazine warned that “having a partner to parent with isn't all wine and roses,” adding that 22 percent of the married women they polled “agreed that it might sometimes be easier to be unmarried.”133 The magazine tepidly concluded that married mothers “probably win out in the end, just because they have Dad's extra assistance, emotional support, and income.”134 But it was a nail-biter.
Marie Claire seems to have updated the usual women's magazine formula—jealousy, envy, and love
On NBC's megahit sitcom Friends, when the pretty, popular “Rachel” gets pregnant out of wedlock, two of the three male stars fall madly in love with her. On Sex and the City, unwed mother Miranda acquires her most impressive boyfriend of the series, a handsome doctor, after giving birth to an illegitimate baby, but then dumps him to marry the father of her child and end up happily ever after. Back on Planet Earth, one's chances of finding Mr. Right do not tend to improve after having a baby out of wedlock. A Cornell University study found that unwed mothers are 30 percent less likely to marry than other single women—and, I would venture, 100 percent more likely to have received sex education and condoms in schools that don't believe abstinence works. “Both the likelihood of marriage and the quality of marital partners,” said the study's author, Daniel Lichter, “are adversely affected by out-of-wedlock childbearing.”135
Us Weekly celebrated single motherhood with an article titled “The New Single Moms and How They Do It,” delusionally proclaiming, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.” No they're not. They're “doing it” at a colossal, unwelcome cost to every man, woman, and child in America.
Hollywood actresses have dropped sex tapes and moved on to single motherhood as a way to promote their careers. Among the current celebrity unwed mothers are Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Minnie Driver, Bridget Moynahan, Nicole Richie, Jamie Lynn Spears, and Michelle Williams. There was also Shar Jackson, the ex-girlfriend of Kevin Federline, who was briefly married to Britney Spears, but if we're including people associated with Britney Spears, there's no telling how long the list would be. Starlets who have adopted children while unmarried include Sheryl Crow, Calista Flockhart, Camryn Manheim, Meg Ryan, and Angelina Jolie. Apparently, busting up tribal wars to adopt foreign babies has become the latest form of Hollywood autoeroticism.