Marital Status
Demographics
State-by-State

Unwed Births
Internationally

 


Most States Unjustly Stigmatize Children

Born to Unmarried Parents

 
 

 

State Statutes referring to such children as "bastards" Statutes referring to such children as "illegitimate" Judges referring to such children as "illegitimate"
Alabama 26-11-1   1998 Ala. LEXIS 192
Arkansas Const. amendment #67 5-26-411 971 S.W.2d 263, 265
California     78 Cal.Rptr.2d 335, 347
Colorado     962 P.2d 339, 341
Connecticut     710 A.2d 1297, 1320
Delaware 10 Del. C. 5117    
Florida     1999 Fla.App. LEXIS 10064
Georgia     510 S.E.2d 823
Illinois     701 N.E.2d 1147, 1150
Indiana     689 N.E.2d 1265, 1268
Iowa     591 N.W.2d 182, 188
Kansas     923 P.2d 1044
Kentucky     965 S.W.2d 836, 839
Louisiana C. C. Art. 238   715 So.2d 483, 487
Maine 14 M.R.S. 711    
Maryland     728 A.2d 743, 753
Massachusetts     711 N.E.2d 886, 890
Michigan     573 N.W.2d 291
Minnesota     1997 Min.App. LEXIS 1397
Mississippi Chapter 9 91-1-15 718 So.2d 1091
Missouri     959 S.W. 944
Montana     883 P.2d 1246, 1249, 1255
Nebraska     546 N.W.2d 61, 65-66
Nevada     889 P.2d 823, 828-829, 832
New Mexico     959 P.2d 540, 547
New Jersey Title 9, ch.17, art.2 & 37:1-5 Title 9, subtitle 4 703 A.2d 901, 923-924
New York     692 N.Y.S.2d 569
North Carolina Chapter 49 Chapter 49, Art. 1 505 S.E.2d 277
Ohio   2919.21 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 5044
Oklahoma Title 21, 53   942P.2d 235, 238
Rhode Island 9-18-16    
South Carolina   20-1-60 498 S.E.2d 885
South Dakota   25-6-1 569 N.W.2d 29, 33
Tennessee 8-21-701 / 16-16-114   1998 Miss. LEXIS 460
Texas     1997 Tex.App. LEXIS 4654
Utah     945 P.2d 113, 117
Vermont 12 V.S.A. 1695 & 3482    
Virginia     1995 Va. App. LEXIS 560
Washington   41.26.030 969 P.2d 113, 114-118
West Virginia 42-1-5   511 S.E.2d 720, 797-800
Wyoming     923 P.2d 758, 763-765


Some Relevant Quotes:

From the Pennsylvania Superior Ct. in Miscovich v. Miscovich (1997) 455 Pa. Super. 437, fn. 2:

"Throughout history, illegitimate children were precluded from, among other legal rights, entering certain professions. The Book of Deuteronomy states: 'A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to this tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord. 'Duet. 23:2. At common law, a child born out of wedlock, referred to as a bastard, was considered a non-person and was not entitled to support from the father or inheritance from either parent. 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 459; Davis v. Houston, 2 Yeates 280 (1878)."


From Louisiana's Civil Code, Article. 238:

"Illegitimate children generally speaking, belong to no family, and have no relations; accordingly they are not submitted to the paternal authority, even when they have been legally acknowledged."

 

From the Alaska Supreme Court in B.E.B. v. B.E.B. (1999) 979 P.2d 514, 517:

"To be designated as an illegitimate child in preadolescence is an emotional trauma of lasting consequence."

 

From Wash. Supreme Court Judge Charles Smith in Guard v. Beeston (1997) 940 P.2d 642, 668:

"I write . . . to express my concern over the perpetuation of the offensive term 'illegitimate' in referring to a child born to parents not married to each other. Certainly, 'illegitimate' is a better word than 'bastard,' a word common in earlier statutes and decisions. RCW 4.24.010, at issue in this case, uses the term 'illegitimate child.' An innocent child is still stigmatized by that reference. We have made great strides in amending statutes to remove age-old terms which are offensive in our present-day society. The legislative process can use words which convey the same meaning, but are less demeaning to children."