A New York resident is looking to marry their adult child.
Instead, the New Yorker is suing to overturn laws that bar incestuous relationships, justifying the desire to marry one’s offspring as a matter of “individual autonomy.”
Recognizing that the request involves “an action that a large segment of society views as morally, socially and biologically repugnant,” the parent opted to remain anonymous, according to court papers obtained by the New York Post.
“Through the enduring bond of marriage, two persons, whatever relationship they might otherwise have with one another, can find a greater level of expression, intimacy and spirituality,” the parent said in the Manhattan federal court claim filed April 1.
According to the infatuated parent, proposing marriage while the current laws are in effect would cause substantial “emotional harm.”
By filing the lawsuit, the parent is looking to have a judge declare that laws forbidding incest are “unconstitutional and unenforceable” in this case.
“Parent-and-adult-child couples for whom procreation is either virtually or literally impossible can aspire to the transcendent purposes of marriage and seek fulfillment in its highest meaning,” the parent said.
The parent also argued that it would “diminish their humanity” to disallow a parent and child from marrying.
Speaking with The Post, New York University Law Professor Sylvia Law said that, sometimes, in cases like this, there has been a long period of separation between the parent and child since infancy.
Upon reuniting, the law professor said, the pair’s familial relationship may turn romantic.
“I don’t think there’s a big popular movement, but I do think as long as we’ve kept records, there have been cases,” Law said.
“It’s an area where I think most people would say the government has a right to make the rules, even if they don’t apply to every situation.”
Marriage Is About More Than Love and Consent
Of course, this case perfectly demonstrates why society cannot function under a broad definition of marriage.
If marriage is simply about two consenting adults, then there can be no objection to parents marrying their biological offspring.
After all, if the child is an adult capable of consenting to the relationship, it is difficult to determine why anyone would consider it morally repugnant.
In addition, if marriage is merely about two people loving one another, then what reason is there to hold the union to a higher standard than other relationships? Anyone can love one another, but defining marriage in this limited way reduces it to any fantasy that consenting adults have dreamed up.
Marriage is an institution — one that is based on more than emotions, which can wax and wane, or relationships that seek to satisfy sexual predilections. If laws barring unions between a father and daughter or a mother and son are to exist, then the law must enshrine one view of marriage above all others.
The only operable standard for marriage is to define it as a sexually exclusive, monogamous union between a man and woman. All other definitions are too vague, and they fail to make a case for why the law must forbid certain unions at all costs.
Not all marriages are equal. If society cannot uphold a consistent worldview on the issue, it will be forced to defend unions that degrade a sacred institution.
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