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Encyclopedia > Illegitimate

Illegitimacy was a term in common usage for the condition of being born of parents who are not validly married to one another; the legal term is bastardy. That status could be changed (in either direction) by civil law or canon law (see Princes in the Tower for an example of the former). In some locations, marriage of an illegitimate child's parents after his or her birth results in his or her legitimation. Marriage is a relationship and bond, most commonly between a man and a woman, that plays a key role in the definition of many families. ... Civil law has at least three meanings. ... In Western culture, canon law is the law of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. ... The Princes in the Tower Edward V of England (1470–1483?) and Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York, (1473–1483?) were the two young princes, sons of Edward IV of England and Elizabeth Woodville, who were declared illegitimate by the Act of Parliament known as Titulus Regius. ... Legitimation is the act of providing legitimacy to a child born out of wedlock. ...


In many societies the law did not (or does not) give illegitimate persons the same rights of inheritance as legitimate ones, and in some, not even the same freedoms. In England as late as the 1960s, for example, illegitimacy carried a strong social stigma among both middle and working class people, as it also did in the United States. As recently as the 1960s, unwed mothers were strongly encouraged, and at times even forced, to give their children up for adoption. Oft times, an illegitimate child would be raised by grandparents or married relatives as the "sister" or "nephew" of the unwed mother, just as in medieval and Renaissance Europe priests' children (especially bishops' and popes' children) were usually called their "nephews," giving us the term "nepotism". In those cultures the fathers of bastard children did not incur the same censure nor, generally, much legal responsibility, due both to social attitudes about sex and the difficulty of determining the father of a child with any degree of accuracy. In sociology, social status is the standing, the honour or prestige attaching to ones position in society. ... Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with a parent or parents other than the birth parents. ... Roman Catholic priest LCDR Allen R. Kuss (USN) aboard USS Enterprise A priest or priestess is a holy man or woman who takes an officiating role in worship of any religion, with the distinguishing characteristic of offering sacrifices. ... Nepotism means favoring relatives because of their relationship rather than because of their abilities. ...


By the latter third of the 20th century in the U.S., all the states had adopted uniform laws that codify the responsibility of both parents to provide support and care for a child regardless of their parents' marital status and giving illegitimate (and adopted) persons the same rights to inherit their parents' property as anyone else. Generally speaking in the United States illegitimacy has been supplanted by the concept "born out of wedlock". One does not speak of a child being illegitimate; all children are equally legitimate.


Stating that a child is less entitled to civil rights, or in a state of sin, due to the marital status of his/her parents would be seen as highly controversial by even the most conservative people in the West today. Many religions still view extramarital or premarital sexual intercourse as a sin, but they generally feel that any resultant child is not in any state of sin. However some religious fraternities, notably Opus Dei, still prohibit those born out of wedlock from becoming members. Sin has been a term most usually used in a religious context, and today describes any lack of conformity to the will of God; especially, any willful disregard for the norms revealed by God is a sin. ... A compass rose with West highlighted West is most commonly a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography. ... Adultery is generally defined as consensual sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than their lawful spouse. ... Fornication refers disapprovingly to any sexual activity outside of the confines of marriage, obviously including pre-marital sex. ... A pair of lions copulating in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. ... Sin has been a term most usually used in a religious context, and today describes any lack of conformity to the will of God; especially, any willful disregard for the norms revealed by God is a sin. ... Founder of Opus Dei: Saint Josemaría Escrivá The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, commonly known as Opus Dei (Latin The Work of God), is a Roman Catholic organization founded on October 2, 1928, by Josemaría Escrivá, a Spanish priest who was later canonized by Pope John Paul...


Today the word "bastard" remains:

  • a pejorative epithet (commonly used as the masculine analog of "bitch"). The word is often used as an epithet, but without its pejorative sense; in Australian English it is sometimes called the great Australian endearment (e.g. "he's a lucky bastard"). Bastard Nation, an advocacy group for the rights of adopted children, has attempted to "reclaim" it as a neutral or self-respecting term.
  • an acceptable adjective for describing odd-sized objects or parts, such as bolts with non-standard threads. There is a particular type of engineer's coarse file known in the trade as having a bastard cut, and referred to as a bastard.

Due to the common use of the word as a mildly profane generic insult for any man, regardless of birth status, many students are surprised to find that the use of the word, when referring to a child of unmarried parents (for example Shakespeare's John the Bastard) is seen as entirely appropriate by their teachers. A word or phrase is pejorative or derogatory (sometimes misspelled perjorative) if it expresses contempt or disapproval; dyslogistic (noun: dyslogism) is used synonymously (antonyms: meliorative, eulogistic, noun eulogism). ... Linguistics An epithet (Greek epitheton) is a descriptive word or phrase, often metaphoric, that is essentially a reduced or condensed appositive. ... Look up Bitch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The word bitch — originally used for the female members of the canid species, specially dogs — is more often employed in a figurative sense as an insult for a promiscuous woman, or a malicious, spiteful, domineering, intrusive, and/or mean person. ... Australian English is the form of the English language used in Australia. ... Bastard Nation is a North American adoptee rights organization. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually making its meaning more specific. ... An insult is a statement or action which affronts or demeans someone. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ...


Parental responsibility

In the UK the notion of bastardy was effectively abolished by the introduction of The Children Act 1989 (which came into force in 1991), by virtue of introducing the concept of parental responsibility which ensures that a child can have a legal father even if that child's parents weren't married. However it was not until December 2003, with the implementation of parts of [1] The Adoption and Children Act 2002, that parental responsibility was automatically granted to fathers of children born out of wedlock, and even then, only if the father's name appears on the birth certificate. The Children Act 1989 is a British Act of Parliament that altered the law in regard to children. ... In most forms of government, a birth certificate is an official legal document usually describing Name at Birth Date of Birth Sex (Gender) Place of Birth (City, Region, Country) Birth Registration Number Legal Parent(s) Time of Birth (if known) The certificate is issued shortly after a persons birth...


See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Illegitimacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (944 words)
Often, an illegitimate child would be raised by grandparents or married relatives as the "sister" or "nephew" of the unwed mother.
The stress that such circumstances of birth once regularly visited upon families, is illustrated in the case of Albert Einstein and his wife-to-be, Mileva Marić, who — when she became pregnant with the first of their three children, Lieserl — felt compelled to maintain separate residences in different cities.
Despite the decreasing legal relevance of illegitimacy, an important exception may be found in the nationality laws of many countries, which discriminate against illegitimate children in the application of jus sanguinis, particularly in cases where the child's connection to the country lies only through the father.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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