February 18, 2009
Contact: Martin Cothran
LEXINGTON--A bill that some are calling the "Adulterers' Rights Act" was approved today by a State House committee today after being rejected by the same committee earlier in the day. "There was obviously some kind of political pressure applied to legislators to pass a bill with which most of them were clearly uncomfortable," said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The bill, House Bill 28, could be voted on by the Full House as early as Wednesday of next week.
The bill would overturn a Kentucky Supreme Court case that involved a man who had an affair with a married woman who later went back to her husband. The court found that the biological father, which it termed "an interloper," had no right to further disrupt the marriage with a paternity claim, since the law deems the child to be the child of the marriage, and the husband had agreed to raise the child as his own.
"If we're going to give parental rights to someone solely on the basis that they're biologically related (and interrupt a marriage in the process), then what prevents a rapist from asserting parental rights?" asked Cothran.
Cothran also questioned how legislators could vote in good conscience to overturn a court decision which most of them clearly hadn't read. "If you're going to vote to overturn important court cases, you should at least have read them," he said. "The only legislator on the committee who seems to be familiar with the actual case was Brent Yonts," said Cothran, "and he's planning on voting against it on the floor."
"HB 28 seeks to give credence to a biological father's claim of paternity by allowing him to further disrupt a marriage he has already threatened by his previous irresponsible act. The Kentucky High Court ruled correctly in protecting the husband, the wife, and the child--and the legal status of marriage general."
"We don't need to be overturning this important legal decision," said Cothran, "we need to be applauding it."