What Are The Politics of Legitimacy
Modern day legitimacy issues are much
different from the issues that surrounded illegitimate children in inheritance rights long ago.
Most of the laws governing important policies
are equal when it comes to illegitimate or legitimate children. For centuries,
the two operated on completely different sets of laws. Illegitimate children
were even denied many of the basic civil rights that legitimate children had.
The number of children born to unmarried
parents became high enough that a demand for change was created. When it comes
to legal considerations, the basis for laws involving illegitimate children
stem from the 14th Amendmen to the United States Constitution. In Levy v. Louisiana, the court determined that the children of a deceased woman
had a right to file a wrongful death suit in her name regardless of the fact
that they were illegitimate.
Reasons for Less Social Concern:
As the number of children born out of wedlock increases, the social concern
that follows unmarried parents diminishes. In the United States, about one in
four children born are born out of wedlock. That high number as well as several
other factors have helped remove the stigma.
Politics is one of the few places place that
legitimacy still matters. Traditional family values dictate that each home
should be made up of a married couple and their children. Gay couples and
single parent homes have no place in this equation. Politicians, especially
conservative ones tend to follow this old fashioned way of life. Many problems
in society are blamed on the erosion of the traditional family unit. These
problems include everything from gang violence to poor grades in school.
Many young unwed mothers are on Government assistance and politicians will often use this
as a jumping off point when attacking people who have children out of wedlock.
It is harder to use this argument against older, financially stable women who
choose to have children alone.
Implications of Donated Sperm:
Women who choose to use sperm donations to
have children are called single mothers by choice. Statistically, these women
are usually in their mid-30s to 40s and are successful in their careers. They
may reach the age where they want children and fear that age will soon prevent
them from being able to conceive. Even though they have circumstances that are
completely different from that of an unwed teenage mother, they are both
technically having children out of wedlock.
Legally, legitimacy is still important when
it comes to determining a child’s citizenship. In the Untied States, a child’s
status is determined by Jus Soli, Latin for “place of birth.” If a child is
born in the United States, the child is automatically a citizen of the United
States. It doesn’t matter whether or not the mother and father are citizens of
the United States.
Many other countries prefer the method of Jus Sanguinis when
it comes to determining citizenship. Jus Sanguinis follows a rule of
determining a child’s citizenship status based on that of their parents. If a
child is legitimate, then they are legally citizens of their father’s country
of citizenship. If the child is illegitimate, then he or she is a citizen of
their mother’s country.