Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Case Law Development: Child Support Obligations Do Not Violate Constitutional Rights

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan firmly rejected a petition to enjoin a paternity prosecution on the grounds that requiring fathers to accept responsibility for children violates equal protection.  Clearly, the petitioner's request did not sit well with the court:

"According to the pleadings, Dubay commenced a personal relationship with defendant Lauren Wells, dated her, engaged in intimate sexual relations, impregnated her, terminated his relationship, and sued her for bearing his child. If chivalry is not dead, its viability is gravely imperiled by the plaintiff in this case. But chivalry is not the issue here, nor does it provide a basis upon which to decide the legal and policy issues that Dubay seeks to advance through this litigation. Rather, the plaintiff contends that Michigan's paternity statutes are repugnant to the United States Constitution's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses because he has no say, he argues, in the decision whether to beget and bear a child. Therefore, he insists, he ought not to be saddled with the financial responsibility of the child's support, and he should receive damages from the private and public defendants who are attempting to exact that toll from him. The plaintiff's claims have been rejected by every court that has considered similar matters, and with good reason."

Plaintiff had framed his case as a 1983 civil rights action and, as the court observed, "The fundamental flaw in Dubay's claim is that he fails to see that the State played no role in the conception or birth of the child in this case, or in the decisions that resulted in the birth of the child."

Dubay v. Wells, U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. Mich. (July 17, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited July 19, 2006) bgf

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Comments

This is the fruit of Roe v Wade, which allows women, but not men, a choice over the "decision whether to beget and bear a child".

Her choice is contstitutionally guaranteed, while his choice has no standing at all.

Either Men and Women are equals, in the eye of the law (SSM anyone?), or they are not. This case proves that men and women are not equals, especially when it comes to family law.

Posted by: Marty | Jul 21, 2006 8:31:03 PM

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