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This is a type of impermissible discrimination that is based on people making marital choices that the government disfavors. Bastardy laws were a type of marital discrimination where parents and children were denied rights to each other simply because the parents were not married to each other when the child was born or they were married to other people. The Supreme Court eliminated most of this in the early 1970’s by holding that we cannot punish children for the sins of the parents.

Divorce courts intentionally misinterpret this phrase in custody proceedings and hold that they cannot make custody determinations based upon whether a parent is married or not married in terms of someone other than the child’s other parent. They ignore the simple inescapable fact that presuming away a child’s rights to its parents and the parents’ rights to their child because the parents divorced or never married is exactly the type of marital discrimination the Court invalidated when it invalidated the bastardy laws. Our divorce and child custody courts are the last bastion of Bastardy Law in this country and we need to eradicate it unconditionally. As the Supreme Court clearly held, It is unjust to punish a child for the sins of its parents. However, that is exactly what our child custody courts are doing as we speak.

Wikipedia: Colonial American Bastardy Laws in America

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