And Now–To The Sex Registries Question

 

This is a continuation of a series of posts on putative father registries.   Check back over the last three posts (and the extensive comments accompanying them) to get up to speed.    The most recent post will at least help  you understand the terrain of the discussion.   In particular, it discusses what putative father registries are for.   This is important to have in mind.

I’m working myself round to considering an objection to putative father registries–that objection being that they amount to sex registries.   Though the term “sex registries” has been used some here, I’m not sure it has a general and agreed upon meaning–at the very least it doesn’t have one of which I am aware– which might mean we are actually talking about different things.   Now for starters, I suppose I’d better say what I mean by “sex registries.”

I think of a sex registry as a place where the government requires people to report who they have sex with.  And if I think of it that way, I can certainly think of many objections to sex registries.   Possibly the main points have to do with privacy.

There are obviously privacy issues involved with a sex registry, but I think it is worth saying a bit about them.    It’s easy to say that when two people (or three for that matter) have sex it’s a private matter, but what does that mean?   One thing I know it does not mean–it does not mean that the fact that they had sex is necessarily secret.  Clearly any of the participants is free to reveal to whoever they want that they had sex with whomever/whenever.   And indeed, people do this all the time.

Why is this important?  Because when a man and a woman has sex, neither really has an expectation that it will remain a secret.  It might, but it might not.  And we all know that.  We all know that people do kiss and tell, even when they say they won’t.

This doesn’t particularly mean it is the governments business, but it does mean that the expectation of privacy is not the same as an expectation of secrecy or confidentiality.   Somehow it seems to me it is worth noting this.  It’s not an argument that sex registries would be fine, but it’s something to keep in mind.

But it also seems to me that the putative father registry isn’t exactly a sex registry, anyway.    I take it that a sex registry is a place where reporting is mandatory.  Signing up for a putative father’s registry is not mandatory.   It’s optional.   Nothing requires a man to report that he had sex with a woman.   There is no requirement that a man sign up for a putative father registry.

(This actually leads me to a couple of side issues.  I think if you are discovered to have an STD they may inquire about who your sex partners were and perhaps suggest you tell them.   They may even record some of this information.   Not exactly a sex registry and perhaps warranted by public health concerns?   Also as I recall no one has raised issues of a sex registry when considering whether women should be required to disclose the names of men they had sex with around the time of conception.)

Perhaps the concern is that the man has to sign up if he wants to get notice in the event there is a child conceived and the child is placed for adoption.  Does this amount to a form of coercion?   I’m not sure it does.  There are other alternatives for a man who is interested in possibly claiming parentage of a child. First of all, he can hang around and figure out if there is a pregnancy. No pregnancy, surely no point to registering and no pressure to do so.  If there is a pregnancy, then he can demonstrate his interest in other ways–most of which require maintaining some sort of relationship with the pregnant woman.   There’s clearly some public disclosure there–but it’s not a sex registry–it’s the guy claiming he’s responsible for the pregnancy, more or less.   Only where the woman ditches him and freezes him out does he need to sign up to protect his rights.

Of course, if he wants to establish parentage of the child he’s going to be claiming the genetic connection and hence, acknowledging that he had sex anyway.   Again, there’s disclosure there.   But not really a sex registry.

After thinking about it, I’m not persuaded that the specter of a sex registry doesn’t really loom so very large here.  Only a small number of men are going to register and I don’t see that they are going to be registering each time they have sex with a woman.   They’ll only think about registering in those cases where they think or know there’s a pregnancy and where they are afraid they’ll be frozen out.

In the end, though, this comes down to a cost/benefit question, I think.   I’ll concede that there is some cost to having a putative father’s registry.   Perhaps it infringes a bit on some people’s privacy, even if I’m not totally clear on exactly whose and exactly how.   But there is a corresponding benefit–one that I think outweighs it.  It allows us to reliably give notice to men who are genetically related to children who are being placed for adoption and who have otherwise been frozen out of the process.  I accept the trade-off (though I know that others do not).

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38 responses to “And Now–To The Sex Registries Question

  1. parenthood is public; sex is private. once there is a known pregnancy, the man is declaring his paternity to the child to be. Sure we understand that there must have been sex but thats not the point.
    When there is no child-in-the-making, all it is is reporting sex, not paternity. there can be no paternity of something that doesn’t exist.
    i really don’t want any man reporting to any registry that they had sex with me. if there is no child, there is no parenthood, and therefore none of the governments business.
    This is very different than being notified by the department of health that a sex partner of mine has an STD. the goal is to give me information to protect my own health. whats more, only people who test positive are offered the option of having the department of health notify their sex partners. Expecting all men who had sex to inform a registry, would by like informing all sex partners of everyone who walked into the STD clinic, not just the ones who tested positive,

    • “parenthood is public; sex is private.” Brilliant I needed someone to articulate that. The world needs someone to say that.

      • But sex isn’t really private, because it can’t necessarily be kept secret even if both parties do. There’s always a chance a baby will result whose birth is public proof of sex, and the father was usually identifiable and now can be proven as well. Marriage is a public “sex registry” that is supposed to announce to the world that they have sex with each other and hold them responsible to their children and to each other, they are committing to have kids with each other by having sex with each other.

        Now we let people have sex and if a child is born we retroactively marry and divorce them, and if a child is not born we let them leave each other with no obligations, as if they didn’t have sex.

  2. of course, a man could sign a registry after having sex, no one is stopping him, but i don’t think it should be expected, nor should the registry be marketed that way.
    I realize that this leaves us with the knotty problem of how to reach genetic fathers who don’t know they have fathered children. what are the possible scenarios?
    if the woman doesn’t know how to reach them, in which governments have better resources to find people. if a concerted effort is made and fails, i would say the adoption should proceed. here is where a sex registry can help but isn’t . if she doesn’t know who he is at all, chances are he does’nt either know who she is, so couldnt’ have signed a registry anyway.
    Or the woman is lying about not knowing who he is. i think this is probably such a small minority of cases i’m willing to let it go. in many such instances, the man knew about the pregnancy, and can register upon finding out about the pregnancy, not upon having sex.

  3. I assume the registry wouldn’t be public? If it’s not public, I don’t see the problem. It’s completely voluntary.

    A national registry could help someone like that case of the boyfriend who found out that his college girlfriend was pregnant and insisting on putting their child up for adoption. She left the state, and he couldn’t find her. A national registry would be of assistance in emergency situations such as this.

    • Tess – how can it be of assistance if the state law also requires that he have supported the mother during the prenatal period and filed a parental pleading. Sure he would get notice but still be out of luck because he failed to comply with all of the state laws.

      • I’m assuming that the purpose of a national registry is so that he can make a legal claim without doing other things such as supporting the mother.

        It would also be on record that he was attempting to make a claim on his hypothetical child. That could help him in court establish intention so he doesn’t have to rely on maintaining a relationship with someone who isn’t cooperating with him.

        Very few men would go to these registries. It occurs to me that the men who would use the registries are those who are frantically searching for a girlfriend who is intent on an adoption which they want to stop. These men would hire people such as lawyers who specialize in the area, and they would be able to tell him to put his name on the registry.

        I don’t understand the push back against the registry. It strikes me that it’s a non-coercive tool to help men in situations such as these. Certainly an ad in the newspaper isn’t going to solve the problem when the younger generation is almost universally on line, not on paper.

        • i agree tess, the registry is likely to be used by men who knpw about the pregnancy. julie is suggesting that a mn is at fault for npt signing up after merelu having sex. i do also believe uou are overly optimistic. there have been men who attempted to claim patermity shoeing ebery willingness to take car of the child but were denied because they hadn’t signed the registry

          • That’s not good, as clearly many people wouldn’t know about the registry. I don’t know the legal research in this area.

  4. http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr2439/text

    ****I just took the time to quickly scan the actual legislation…there is nothing to protect the father from additional state legislation, and so much for privacy…

    ‘(5) LIMITATION ON DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION- No information contained in the National Responsible Father Registry shall be disclosed to any person if the disclosure of the information would contravene a national security interest of the United States or if the disclosure would compromise the confidentiality of census data.

    ****Nor can you just go on-line and fill it out – you need to get a form and then either mail it or email it…not showing everything they want included but there are 16 categories to fill out including who you are employed by.

    ‘(1) IN GENERAL- The State shall establish centers in various locations throughout the State so that registration forms for the State Responsible Father Registry are easily accessible to possible fathers.

    ‘(2) SITES- The sites of the centers described in paragraph (1) may include (but are not limited to) the following:

    ‘(A) State and local hospitals.

    ‘(B) Courthouses in which family courts are located.

    ‘(C) State departments of motor vehicles.

    ‘(D) State welfare agencies.

    ‘(E) State health department offices.

    ‘(F) State vital records offices.

    ‘(G) State probate courts.

    ‘(H) State-operated or -sponsored websites for each center established in accordance with this subsection.

    ****And they will use the registry for child support (not that it is bad) but…

    ‘(3) REQUIREMENT- The procedures established under subsection (b)(1) shall include a means by which a possible father is informed that the registry may be used to establish an obligation to support a child or children

    • if the registry is used for child support there is no way anyone should sign it unless he’s certain there is a child and the child is his

      • Dan in Tennessee

        These are not used for child support. It has nothing to do with child support. All of this talk about support and payment has confused the issue.

        • No Dan it does not confuse the issue it clarifies it. Think equitable treatment. Why should failure to sign this registry get him out of being a legal father for the purpose of having his kid adopted if that same failure to sign this registry would not get him out of being a legal father should the mother have decided to keep and raise the child? So the child actually is at greater risk of loosing legal recognition of her father/child relationship if her mother happens not to feel like raising her. If she does not feel like raising her, then her father won’t be recognized legally unless he signs this registry in a certain window of time. If her mother does feel like raising her, the child has a protected right to legal recognition of her father child relationship whenever he shows up when ever they find him and in fact the child has the right to the state’s help in looking for him and even testing men on the short list. So right there children who are wanted for adoption have less of a right to legal recognition of their own family. Don’t you see the law tries to free them up tries to make them marketable.

          • Dan in Tennessee

            Marilyn: You write “why should failure to sign this registry get him out of being a legal father for the purpose of having his kid adopted if that same failure to sign this registry would not get him out of being a legal father should the mother have decided to keep and raise the child?”
            First, failure to sign the registry does not get him out of being a legal father. Signing the registry does not make a man a legal father. Signing the registry is a way of saying “hey, if that lady has any children, I might be the father of that hypothetical child.” In no jurisdiction does that act of signing the registry legitimate paternity. In no jurisdiction does that act of signing the registry create a de facto child support order.
            Legal fatherhood (and the child support obligation that accompanies that) is a consequence of marriage or some other court proceeding. There may be some presumption about a man who signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital; signs the birth certificate, etc., but that’s not the putative father registry. Even then, we need some court proceeding before imposing child support obligations.
            My frame of reference is Tennessee, obviously. In Tennessee if the woman has named a man as the father we pretty much have to locate that man and serve him in a Petition to Terminate/Adoption regardless of whether he ever registered on the putative father registry. You seem to see something sinister in the registry, as though it creates some obligations on the part of these men. On the contrary, the registry is for them to get notice when the woman does NOT name them. Again, even if they’re on the registry the petitioner must serve them either personally or by publication and provide them with notice and an opportunity to be heard.
            You write: “If [the mother] does not feel like raising [the child], then [the child’s] father won’t be recognized legally unless he signs this registry in a certain window of time.” No. Again, that is not how the registry works. It’s about termination of parental rights and adoption. The existence of the registry would not preclude a man from filing a Petition to Establish Paternity. If the father knows about the child then the existence of the registry is irrelevant. If the father does not know about the child (and assuming the petitioner does not know of the existence of the father) than what other mechanism would you suggest to give these men notice?
            The answer from you and several of the comments is that that we need to just establish who the father is at birth and we assume that that man is always on hand to parent this child. That is not the practical world in which we live. We very often a). don’t know who the father is; and b). don’t know where that man is.
            On the national news I have seen that the State of Utah has some very bad law in this respect. There seems to requirement to in any way look for the biological father or to provide that man with any notice. There are several cases now in the news media that have drawn attention from the State of Utah because of that bad law which adversely infringes on these men’s due process rights as parents. And I think the Federal Courts are going to slam Utah for that. But all states are not like that.\
            You have stated that you seriously believe the current law of adoption should be abolished. I respectfully suggest that that would be very bad public policy and one which would have little or no traction with the majority in the Federal Congress or in any of the States.

            • But TAO’s post quotes the bill specifically saying that the registry may be used to establish child support

              • Dan in Tennessee

                I don’t think so. I think she included her own comments/suppositions in the places that have astericks.

                • Dan – Yes, I inserted astericks so people could see my comments vs where I quoted what is in the current federal bill. Child support is in the bill – see the difference in my words (those precluded with asterisks vs the bill wording – I don’t use numbers and subsection references. From my comment above. If you don’t believe me I provided a link to the bill.

                  ****And they will use the registry for child support (not that it is bad) but…

                  ‘(3) REQUIREMENT- The procedures established under subsection (b)(1) shall include a means by which a possible father is informed that the registry may be used to establish an obligation to support a child or children

            • Ha! True dat! You got me. Guess it does not make him a legal father. I rarely get got. Good show.

            • This part is wrong though Dan:”Legal fatherhood (and the child support obligation that accompanies that) is a consequence of marriage or some other court proceeding. There may be some presumption about a man who signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity at the hospital; signs the birth certificate, etc., but that’s not the putative father registry. Even then, we need some court proceeding before imposing child support obligations.”

              The natural father once he is found will have a child support obligation that is RETROACTIVE. Meaning the obligation to support his biological child always existed they just could not find him to let him know he had a kid to support. So the obligation to support is based on having created a situation where there is a dependent minor human being to take care of . The obligation existed before the state found him and recognized him as being the father – he always was and always will be the father at issue is only when the state was able to confirm that he was in fact the person that created the kid.

              Here is the text of California law but it is just the same as UPA.

              660. If a mother relinquishes for or consents to, or proposes to
              relinquish for or consent to, the adoption of a child who has a
              presumed father under Section 7611, the father shall be given notice
              of the adoption proceeding and have the rights provided under Part 2
              (commencing with Section 8600) of Division 13, unless the father’s
              relationship to the child has been previously terminated or
              determined by a court not to exist or the father has voluntarily
              relinquished for or consented to the adoption of the child.

              7660.5. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a presumed
              father may waive the right to notice of any adoption proceeding by
              executing a form developed by the department before an authorized
              representative of the department, an authorized representative of a
              licensed public or private adoption agency, or a notary public or
              other person authorized to perform notarial acts. The waiver of
              notice form may be validly executed before or after the birth of the
              child, and once signed no notice, relinquishment for, or consent to
              adoption of the child shall be required from the father for the
              adoption to proceed. This shall be a voluntary and informed waiver
              without undue influence. If the child is an Indian child as defined
              under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), any waiver of consent by
              an Indian presumed father shall be executed in accordance with the
              requirements for voluntary adoptions set forth in Section 1913 of
              Title 25 of the United States Code. The waiver shall not affect the
              rights of any known federally recognized Indian tribe or tribes from
              which the child or the presumed father may be descended to
              notification of, or participation in, adoption proceedings as
              provided by the ICWA. Notice that the waiver has been executed shall
              be given to any known federally recognized Indian tribe or tribes
              from which the child or the presumed father may be descended, as
              required by the ICWA.

              7663. (a) In an effort to identify the natural father, the court
              shall cause inquiry to be made of the mother and any other
              appropriate person by one of the following:
              (1) The State Department of Social Services.
              (2) A licensed county adoption agency.
              (3) The licensed adoption agency to which the child is to be
              relinquished.
              (4) In the case of a stepparent adoption, the licensed clinical
              social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist who is
              performing the investigation pursuant to Section 9001, if applicable.
              In the case of a stepparent adoption in which no licensed clinical
              social worker or licensed marriage and family therapist is performing
              the investigation pursuant to Section 9001, the board of supervisors
              may assign those inquiries to a licensed county adoption agency, the
              county department designated by the board of supervisors to
              administer the public social services program, or the county
              probation department.
              (b) The inquiry shall include all of the following:
              (1) Whether the mother was married at the time of conception of
              the child or at any time thereafter.
              (2) Whether the mother was cohabiting with a man at the time of
              conception or birth of the child.
              (3) Whether the mother has received support payments or promises
              of support with respect to the child or in connection with her
              pregnancy.
              (4) Whether any man has formally or informally acknowledged or
              declared his possible paternity of the child.
              (5) The names and whereabouts, if known, of every man presumed or
              alleged to be the father of the child, and the efforts made to give
              notice of the proposed adoption to each man identified.
              (c) The agency that completes the inquiry shall file a written
              report of the findings with the court.

              7664. (a) If, after the inquiry, the natural father is identified
              to the satisfaction of the court, or if more than one man is
              identified as a possible father, notice of the proceeding shall be
              given in accordance with Section 7666. If any alleged natural father
              fails to appear or, if appearing, fails to claim parental rights, his
              parental rights with reference to the child shall be terminated.
              (b) If the natural father or a man representing himself to be the
              natural father claims parental rights, the court shall determine if
              he is the father. The court shall then determine if it is in the best
              interest of the child that the father retain his parental rights, or
              that an adoption of the child be allowed to proceed. The court, in
              making that determination, may consider all relevant evidence,
              including the efforts made by the father to obtain custody, the age
              and prior placement of the child, and the effects of a change of
              placement on the child.
              (c) If the court finds that it is in the best interest of the
              child that the father should be allowed to retain his parental
              rights, the court shall order that his consent is necessary for an
              adoption. If the court finds that the man claiming parental rights is
              not the father, or that if he is the father it is in the child’s
              best interest that an adoption be allowed to proceed, the court shall
              order that the consent of that man is not required for an adoption.
              This finding terminates all parental rights and responsibilities with
              respect to the child.

              7665. If, after the inquiry, the court is unable to identify the
              natural father or any possible natural father and no person has
              appeared claiming to be the natural father and claiming custodial
              rights, the court shall enter an order terminating the unknown
              natural father’s parental rights with reference to the child.

              7666. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), notice of the
              proceeding shall be given to every person identified as the natural
              father or a possible natural father in accordance with the Code of
              Civil Procedure for the service of process in a civil action in this
              state at least 10 days before the date of the proceeding, except that
              publication or posting of the notice of the proceeding is not
              required. Proof of giving the notice shall be filed with the court
              before the petition is heard.
              (b) Notice to a man identified as or alleged to be the natural
              father shall not be required, and the court shall issue an order
              dispensing with notice to him, under any of the following
              circumstances:
              (1) The man’s relationship to the child has been previously
              terminated or determined not to exist by a court.
              (2) The alleged or presumed natural father has executed a written
              form to waive notice, deny his paternity, relinquish the child for
              adoption, or consent to the adoption of the child.
              (3) The whereabouts or identity of the alleged natural father are
              unknown or cannot be ascertained.
              (4) The alleged father has been served with written notice of his
              alleged paternity and the proposed adoption, and he has failed to
              bring an action pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7630 within 30
              days of service of the notice or the birth of the child, whichever
              is later.

              7667. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action to
              terminate the parental rights of a father of a child as specified in
              this part shall be set for hearing not more than 45 days after filing
              of the petition, except as provided in subdivision (c).
              (b) The matter so set shall have precedence over all other civil
              matters on the date set for trial, except an action to terminate
              parental rights pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800).
              (c) The court may dispense with a hearing and issue an ex parte
              order terminating parental rights if any of the following apply:
              (1) The identity or whereabouts of the father are unknown.
              (2) The alleged father has validly executed a waiver of the right
              to notice or a denial of paternity.
              (3) The alleged father has been served with written notice of his
              alleged paternity and the proposed adoption, and he has failed to
              bring an action pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7630 within 30
              days of service of the notice or the birth of the child, whichever
              is later.

              7668. (a) The court may continue the proceedings for not more than
              30 days as necessary to appoint counsel and to enable counsel to
              prepare for the case adequately or for other good cause.
              (b) In order to obtain an order for a continuance of the hearing,
              written notice shall be filed within two court days of the date set
              for the hearing, together with affidavits or declarations detailing
              specific facts showing that a continuance is necessary, unless the
              court for good cause entertains an oral motion for continuance.
              (c) Continuances shall be granted only upon a showing of good
              cause. Neither a stipulation between counsel nor the convenience of
              the parties is in and of itself a good cause.
              (d) A continuance shall be granted only for that period of time
              shown to be necessary by the evidence considered at the hearing on
              the motion. If a continuance is granted, the facts proven which
              require the continuance shall be entered upon the minutes of the
              court.

              7669. (a) An order requiring or dispensing with a father’s consent
              for the adoption of a child may be appealed from in the same manner
              as an order of the juvenile court declaring a person to be a ward of
              the juvenile court and is conclusive and binding upon the father.
              (b) After making the order, the court has no power to set aside,
              change, or modify that order.
              (c) Nothing in this section limits the right to appeal from the
              order and judgment.

              7670. There shall be no filing fee charged for a petition filed
              pursuant to Section 7662.

              • I really object to the whole retroactive child support thing when the father didn’t even know he had a kid. its apunitive measure for something thats not his fault. it cant undo the past. i’d even give him another years notice to organize his finances, maybe 9 months like other parents get

                • OK Ki – so whose responsibility is it to feed and clothe his child? Granted he did not know he had a child – isn’t it nice of the State to take care of his child until he can be located? His child is not the State’s responsibility but the State will help a parent take care of their children in case of an emergency. Sure he would have taken care of his child had he known but he did not know. Does the fact that he did not know mean that his child was not his responsibility during that time? Is his child ever really anyone else’s responsibility? Are they not just covering for him until they can find him? The state is not the one that created a dependent person needing to be fed, that was him and the mother. Unless he could prove that someone prevented him from finding out then maybe he could sue that person to recoup his losses on the retroactive child support issue.

                  You have to think if you are a minor and someone has to take care of you who owes it to you to do that? Who else could reasonably be expected to shoulder that burden? If your kid breaks a window you have to pay for it even if you had nothing to do with it did not know about it because who else is there to recoup losses from for the property owner with the broken window – maybe he will fix his window himself and then ask to be paid back. If your late from work and the babysitter feels she has to feed your kid she could decide to feed them lobster instead of pizza and you might be asked to pay her back because feeding your kid is your responsibility not hers. I know it seems unfair but what is the alternative? Do you and me the tax payer not deserve to have that money paid back? We did dude a favor his kid could have gone hungry he’s lucky his tax dollars pays for an infrastructure that won’t allow his kid to die and pays for an infrastructure that goes out and tries to find him.

                  • suddenly discovering you have a huge debt is very different than paying a certain percentage a month for years. it isn’t fair at all, if it wasn’t his fault. the state has to eat their loss. it also could prevent some fathers from coming forward altogether if they know they’ll be hit with a huge bill they can’t possibly pay. it also puts the father-son/daughter relationship at a terrible start. he’s likely to be resentful of the kid. let him get to establish a relationship with the kid first.

                  • The state does not eat the loss though. They will set up a payment plan for him to repay the amount that they dished out. It sucks and believe me I do see exactly what you are saying. The one good thing about the fact that men retroactively owe support when their fatherhood is not immediately recognized….is that it means that a bio father is the father of his own child whether the state blesses it with legal acknowledgement or not. He was the father and was responsible from day 1 just because a dependent human being originated from his reproductive actions, not because he proved anything to the court. All the State does is confirm that he is the one that owes it to the kid to provide care and support. This one fact as much of a fur ball as it might be to swallow for the guy who finds out late, is the basis of my whole argument with Julie saying that the state assigns parenthood to people. The retroactive child support proves that the state does not go around granting parenthood but rather confirming the identity of the parent not based on changeable criteria like marriage but rather the constant unchanging criteria of having been the person that caused a dependent person to exist.

            • Oh and you’re totally right about my idea not being popular. Basically doomed. Julie has idea that would basically be doomed as well. I’m trying to work things out in my head based on what would truly be fair and equitable treatment of minors with regard to their bio parents and what would be fair and equitable treatment of adults with regard to their obligations for their own offspring. Turns out we are at a current state of totally unfair and unequal and making things fair and equal would require a massive overhaul of current law and its bound to piss some people off. It would be worth it though for consistency sake. I’m just thinking Dan is all exercising my brain. You see I happen to have seen more f-d up wrong and incomplete birth records than any one person generally does and I have made friends with these people and have seen how their lives and identities are ravaged by the inaccuracy and how they are very much relegated to second class status with fewer rights and many restrictions on the most basic needs like their health or like their own information their own identities and access to their relatives vital records. These people are forced to participate in a play, an act, a farce where they take on the roll of a person that has no father or has no mother or whose father or mother is someone other than who they are actually related to and then that extends to having to live life as if they were not related to their own relatives and were instead related to other people who in some instances paid cash money to have that legal right to claim a relationship. Often they buy the legal right to name them like a slave bears the name of the person that paid to have custody of them. I know the slave analogy is unpopular around here but just think of all the black people named Jackson or Jefferson those are not tribal names, those are the surnames of people that paid to possess them and it is the same thing that happens to donor offspring or to adopted people or people who are stepped upon. Being named after the people who you originated from is an accurate statement of your identity and origin being named after someone who got custody of you from those people is insulting and violating if you get right down to it. So I’m against re-identifying people to match the people who got them from whoever they originated bioloigically from because it objectifies them.

              • I’m not going to get into this again, but child custody isn’t slavery. American children are U.S. citizens and entitled to legal civic status, which slaves were not lucky enough to possess.

                • Great its not slavery. But the naming part obviously is exactly like being a slave. There is no way around that. The people who purchase or are gifted or who barter their way into a position of parental title (as in title or deed or pink slip) over another person’s offspring get naming rights too. It’s that way with people who adopt and its that way with people who raise donor’s kids.

                  • “exactly like being a slave.”

                    You are in error. Slaves had no legal existence. At the age of 18 any American citizen can enter a court proceeding to change their first and last name to any name they like.

                    Minors can contest in court for early emancipation from legal parents. Slaves had no standing in court because they were legally dead. At the age of 18 they had no legal rights and they would not have any legal rights.

                    Furthermore, adopted children are legally similarly situated to all infants in that all legal parents have the right to name children ridiculous names and pass down last names which may cause much bullying by school children. The children can do nothing about this until they turn 18, when they may correct the silliness of their legal parents.

                    At the age of 18 anyone upset about their name should change their name. It’s not hard to do.

                  • because its nothing like being named by the people who you came from originally. When there is no further back you can go when there is nobody else in the chain of custody or command being named after or by those two individuals is appropriate, they caused you to exist.

                  • “You are in error. Slaves had no legal existence.”
                    You are wrong. Slaves had a legal existence they are listed as property in people’s wills and they are given the surname of whoever held title to them. They were not recording their actual true identity as the child of two particular individuals in a way that showed it was their parents who were responsible for them but rather the name reflected that it was the slave owner responsible for them. The name Jackson is not straight out of Kenya you know? That surnames existence now today means that their ancestors did legally exist for the record as the responsibility of the person who thought they’d bought the right to title over them. Please defend this statement that they did not legally exist. I’m curious why you say that.

                    ” At the age of 18 any American citizen can enter a court proceeding to change their first and last name to any name they like.” You are missing the point. It is not about what name you like its about correctly identifying you as the child of the two people who reproduced to create you. Recording the identity of the mother that your related to biologically and the father your related to biologically so that you have legal standing within their families as their kin. You could hate your father’s name if its Goldshitz or something but it does correctly identify you as his offspring and a member of his family. And if you’re correctly identified in the beginning you can change your name to anything you want but it will not alter your right and proper identity as the child of your parents and won’t effect your legal standing in your own family. So No adopted people are not identically situated because they are not identified permanently as the child of the parents that made them they are named after the people that bought title to them. They can’t change their name to properly identify themselves and get back into their family unless they have a copy of their original birth record. They first have to be correctly identified and many are not correctly identified especially those who were black market adopted and donor offspring fall into the black market adopted cluster with no record of their true identities. Their identities are stolen hidden its just about the worst thing you can do to someone is fail to acknowledge them for who they truly are. To force them to pretend they are someone they are not.

                    Why can’t the adoptive parent change their name instead? Why does it have to be the child that gets a name change they have no choice in that. You cannot compare the situation of someone who reproduced to create a child and someone that gets a child from someone else. They are not equallys situated and are not in an equal position of responsibility or authority.

                  • your slave analogy doesnt work because you take on e tiny thing that may have some connection while ignoring how the rest of it is so vastly different.

                  • No civil existence in court. “civil death.” No right to petition the court, testify in court, witness in court, no right to own property, no right to marry, no right to travel. Not simply no citizenship rights, but no rights of a foreign citizen, no rights of a permanent resident, no rights of a visitor from a foreign land in a US court…no rights the court need respect.

                  • At the age of 18 any American citizen can legally change his/her name to whatever she/he wants. That person can walk away from his/her adopted parents and never talk to or see them again. The person has no legal obligation to continue the relationship.

                    In contrast, at the age of 18 enslaved people were slaves with no civil existence. That means the slave had no ability to petition the court, act as a witness, testify against anyone, no ability to write a will, no ability to own property, no ability to legally marry.

                    Hypothetical situation: A 21 year old raises his hand in class in a law class on the US Constitution and claims he is “just like a slave” because he was adopted and his last name does not conform to his biological father’s last name. He considers himself to be just as oppressed as a slave.

                    What do Joe’s classmates think about his understanding of constitutional history?

                    What do the African American students in class think of Joe?

                    What do feminist students in the class think of Joe and his yearning for a patriarchal last name?

                  • “You are wrong. Slaves had a legal existence they are listed as property in people’s wills and they are given the surname of whoever held title to them.”

                    Marilynn,
                    No, you are gravely wrong. You misunderstand what it means to be legally recognized by the law. To be clear — Enslaved people had no civil status before the law. Property does not have the right to testify in court, petition the court, or to be recognized as having any sort of standing in court at all.

                    Property has no legal standing to petition the court.

                    All 18 year old people have the right to petition the court and change their legal name. Likewise, those 18 year olds may enter into contracts, marry, own property themselves, testify in court and devise wills.

                    Enslaved people could not do any of those things because they were civilly dead.

                  • The legal difference on names:

                    Enslaved people had no legally recognized names. They could be counted in a slave census, and they were allocated as property, and they were given identifying names for this purpose. But not always — they could be identified simply as child or by numbers. I have simply seen slaves on slave ships registered simply as marks. This was sufficient for these enslaved people to be insured by insurance agents in the case of shipwrecks, often based in Liverpool. They were recognized as legal property which could be insured, but not as legal people. They did not have legal names which the court would recognize as legal names.

                    Enslaved people could not go to court to change their legal name for two reasons: (1) They could not petition the court because they had no civil standing and (2) They had no legal name. Just as enslaved people’s marriages were not recognized by law, their names were not recognized by law. They were not legal names, they were customary names.

                    In contrast, all American children today possess legal names which are recognized by the American government.

                    Your name analogy does not work with enslaved people. It’s not logically coherent because slave names were not legal names recognized by the state, or by the state’s legal agents. They were given customary names, just as their slave marriages were customary, and not recognized by the state.

                    Your logic falls apart because you see adoptive children as having a legal name that you want to change. You see the state as imposing a legal name on that child that you see as not valid.

                    It is dissimilar to slave children because the state had no interest in naming slave children any name. The state ignored slave children’s customary names because slave children had no civil relationship with the state as legal persons. Enslaved children had no legal names and no relationship with the state.

                  • “Please defend this statement that they did not legally exist. I’m curious why you say that.”

                    I’ve explained what it means to be civilly dead. But perhaps you do not understand that slave children had no legal parents?

                    Adopted children are not similarly situated in their legal status to slave children. Adopted children possess a legal family and legal parents.

                    Slave children were not the legal children of slave masters. Slave children were not the legal children of slave parents. The law did not recognize them as legal children of any parents. Slave children had no legal family.

                    Slave children had no legal parents.

          • And Dan my issue is why a man could fail to sign this registry and have his obligation erased but only when the child is being adopted. TAO raised the same issue. It is not fair to the child that they loose their family if someone happens to want to adopt them.

  5. Cannot be certain without a dna test

  6. Since the discussion has taken a bunch of turns I just want to reiterate my position about the registries in a more organized way
    – a paternity registry is a good thing because it can help the state locate genetic fathers who may wish to care for the child and contest to the adoption
    – a paternity registry is could also be a bad thing because it could be used at times against the father
    – a paternity registry is not a sex registry. men should be encouraged to sign up upon learning of a pregnancy, not after every random sexual encounter.
    -now ostensibly, the surest way for a man to be sure he isn’t missing any chances is to sign up after every sexual encounter. so why do I object?
    A. Because it’s unrealistic, people don’t operate that way.
    B. While it’s entirely voluntary for the man, it violates the female sex partner’s privacy.

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