Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fathers have rights

Here are a couple of unrelated stories that actually found some rights for fathers. First, a DNA story:
Men who father a child during an affair with a married woman have the right to seek a role in the child's life, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled.

In an emotionally charged decision that critics say will undermine marriage, the court reversed centuries of common law and its own 2008 ruling that held such children are presumed to be the offspring of the woman and her husband.

Bowing to the realities of DNA testing, which makes proving fatherhood a virtual certainty, the high court said in a 4-3 opinion late last week that Christopher H. Egan has the right to assert paternity — and ultimately visitation and shared custody — to a baby girl he said he fathered in September 2008 during an extramarital affair with Julie Ann Stephens. Both live in Northern Kentucky. ...

In a dissenting opinion, however, Justice Bill Cunningham said the majority's decision consigned the institution of marriage “to the funeral pyre of modern convenience and unanchored values.”
The DNA test is now more important than marriage.

And here is a strange story from Britain:
A burglar was let out of jail yesterday because locking him up breached his family’s human rights.

In a staggering judgment, the Appeal Court ruled that the rights of Wayne Bishop’s five children were more important than those of his victims or the interests of justice.

MPs said it opened the way to thousands more convicts claiming a ‘get out of jail card’ under the controversial Human Rights Act.

Article 8, the right to a family life, has repeatedly been used by foreign criminals to avoid deportation from the UK. But this is believed to be the first time it has been used to let a prisoner walk free from jail. ...

At the Appeal Court, Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Sweeney agreed that imprisoning Bishop was not in the ‘best interests’ of his children, and ordered the sentence to be suspended instead.

The court was told that Bishop was the sole carer of his children, aged between six and 13, for five nights a week. ... The court was not told that Bishop has been married for the last three years.
My working hypothesis is that judge's brains start turing to jelly whenever someone utters the phrase "best interests".

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