November 11, 2017

"Oklahoma Woman Who Married Her Mother Pleads Guilty To Incest/Previously, the mother was married to another child, her biological son."

Headline at HuffPo.
Patricia Spann lost custody of [her daughter Misty Velvet Dawn Spann] and two other children when they were young.

The kids were adopted by their grandmother, and didn’t have contact with Patricia Spann until they were adults.... The two women reconnected back in 2014, reportedly “hit it off,” and decided to get married.

Patricia Spann told officials she didn’t think marrying Misty was illegal because her name is no longer listed on her daughter’s birth certificate....

66 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Is it Jerry Springer Day at Althouse. My personal Index refuses to think these thoughts.

Anonymous said...


Two consenting adults..so what is wrong?

Laslo Spatula said...

It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Momma. Mo Mo Mo Momma.

I am Laslo.

richlb said...

Now THAT'S deplorable.

whitney said...

Even ignoring the whole incest angle it's clear that marriage has been completely devalued by their we just "hit it off" and decided to get married.

Apocalypse nigh I feel sure

Humperdink said...

When JFK Jr. firmly planted his aircraft into the waters off the east coast, it was attributed to pilot vertigo, aka spatial disorientation (your instrument panel is telling you one thing, your brain is telling you another).

The US is suffering from a severe case of moral disorientation. We're corkscrewing downward. Pretty rapidly.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Patricia Spann lost custody of [her daughter Misty Velvet Dawn Spann] and two other children when they were young."

Misty Velvet Dawn Spann?

How did she not grow up to be a stripper?

I am Laslo.

Jose_K said...

All in the family, the wrong way

mezzrow said...

Family values.

How did she not grow up to be a stripper?

How do you know she didn't, Laslo?

Rob said...

Since there’s no possibility of offspring, what possible rationale can there be for criminalizing this marriage other than that it offends the morality of those who prefer a different kind of marriage? And isn’t that both narrow-minded and unconstitutional?

Ann Althouse said...

If you want to have sex with someone you're not supposed to marry, why would you marry this person?

I would suspect that the reason to marry has more to do with government benefits -- tax, welfare, etc.

Ann Althouse said...

Why is the government's role in marriage about sex anyway?

etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

If we criminalize every marriage motivated by government benefits, we’re going to need a bigger jail.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Did this happen in Alabama?

Conservachusetts said...

But they love each other! Who are we to judge? Love trumps hate, right?

Humperdink said...

"Did this happen in Alabama?"

No, Woody Allen's mansion.

CStanley said...

If you want to have sex with someone you're not supposed to marry, why would you marry this person?

I would suspect that the reason to marry has more to do with government benefits -- tax, welfare, etc.


Just curious why you don't suspect this about homosexual couples, and why civil unions wouldn't handle those benefits.

CStanley said...

Why is the government's role in marriage about sex anyway?

You know the answer to this question.

Dave Begley said...

Why is anyone surprised? This should be legal. It is right in the constitution. Equal protection. Or something.

Polygamy is next and within 10 years.

Ann Althouse said...

"Just curious why you don't suspect this about homosexual couples, and why civil unions wouldn't handle those benefits."

This topic has been discussed at length on this blog. If you're really curious about what I think about that, you could read the old posts. But I will summarize simply:

The government chose long ago to attach many government benefits to marriage. It didn't have to do that, but it did.

Having done that, it has to meet the various requirements of equal protection and due process.

There is no legitimate basis for treating same-sex couples differently from opposite-sex couples. To relegate them to a different category labeled "civil unions" is to express something about them that the government has no legitimate basis to express.

If the government chose to extricate itself from the institution of marriage, that would be a big project, and I don't see any movement in that direction. Think about how you'd deal with social security and tax law, etc. I don't see anyone in mainstream American politics wanting to do that work.

Dave Begley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Begley said...

"There is no legitimate basis for treating same-sex couples different from opposite-sex couples."

So what's the legitimate basis for denying mother and daughter the right to marry? No way to procreate. They love each other. Right?

CStanley said...

I have read past posts but wanted to reintroduce what your opinion on that is in order to pick apart the logic for your comment on this post. I (sincerely) appreciate you addressing it and giving a summary of your past comments on gay marriage.

But my point is, what is the legitimate basis for excluding couples who are close blood relatives?

If the idea of sex leading to procreation isn't the state's interest in the marriage contract, then why can the state decide to deny the benefits to an incestuous couple but not an unrelated gay couple, and why do you think incestuous couples should accept having sex without seeking marriage?

Oso Negro said...

Anticipated by the song "I'm My Own Grandpa".

CStanley said...


If the government chose to extricate itself from the institution of marriage, that would be a big project, and I don't see any movement in that direction. Think about how you'd deal with social security and tax law, etc. I don't see anyone in mainstream American politics wanting to do that work.

I don't think it would necessarily be a big project at all. The only thing necessary would be to take the existing structure of civil marriage and change what we call it to "civil union." So any couple, straight or gay, would get a Colvin union license instead of a marriage license. Privately people can call it whatever they like, and churches can define their marriage ceremonies as they see fit.

I acknowledge though that there was never a serious movement to push for this, which is a shame because it is the most balanced way to handle the issue.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“If the idea of sex leading to procreation isn't the state's interest in the marriage contract, then why can the state decide to deny the benefits to an incestuous couple but not an unrelated gay couple, and why do you think incestuous couples should accept having sex without seeking marriage?”

I don’t know what Althouse thinks about this, but here’s my take on it. Incest is unhealthy because the chance of producing children with genetic diseases are so much higher. If a female mother and daughter were to be allowed to marry, that would mean that father and daughter or sister and brother would also be allowed to marry, in those cases they can procreate. Incest also is not healthy in a psychological way. Why should it be legal? Homosexual relations are not on par with incest, that is pretty clear to most people.

Ann Althouse said...

"So what's the legitimate basis for denying mother and daughter the right to marry? No way to procreate. They love each other. Right?"

There are many lawyers ready to make that argument, and I am suggesting it when I say the govt has no legit interest in sex. (I'm assuming consenting adults.)

It seems to me that government marriage is an economic matter and people who make a legal commitment to locking their economic well-being together have a good argument for being treated equally.

The cultural, philosophical, and religious meaning of marriage is not the government's business. It is an expressive matter that belongs to individuals associating with other individuals.

FleetUSA said...

Sounds like some kind of fancy tax avoidance scheme. LOL

CStanley said...

@Unknown- a lot of people enter into marriages with relationships that are psychologically unhealthy though, even if the pathology isn't outwardly visible by nature of something like a close genetic tie. Do we really think the state should be assessing this?

I agree about the problem of opposite sex relatives marrying, but if that's the state's interest then it should only be narrowly enforced to prohibit marriage between two related opposite sex people who are potentially fertile.

Ann Althouse said...

Be clear: The subject I'm talking about is what is government allowed to do and what is outside of the sphere of govt.

Unknown said...

I want a girl
Just like the girl
That married dear ol' Mom

-Lazlo Wannabe

Ann Althouse said...

"But my point is, what is the legitimate basis for excluding couples who are close blood relatives?"

The strongest basis is the interest in the health of babies, but the restriction is obviously under- and over-inclusive. Could be good enough for minimal scrutiny.

Wince said...

Dave Begley said...
"There is no legitimate basis for treating same-sex couples different from opposite-sex couples."

So what's the legitimate basis for denying mother and daughter the right to marry? No way to procreate. They love each other. Right?


Incest laws don't cut across a suspect classification so it doesn't offend equal protection (although Kennedy's SSM decision didn't elevate sexual orientation to suspect classification, which I think was the grand bargain to garner a majority).

As to marriage being a fundamental right and there being no government interest in preventing a same sex child and parent from marrying, I recall Althouse explaining to me the overiclusiveness of an incest laws is not fatal to their constitutionality.

Humperdink said...

AA said: "Be clear: The subject I'm talking about is what is government allowed to do and what is outside of the sphere of govt."

It would be nice if we as a nation went back to square one. That would be the 10th amendment.

CStanley said...

I'm still unclear of your position. Are you arguing that the state should not prohibit the marriage in question? I read your interest trial comment as saying that these people shouldn't seek marriage anyway, they should just remain single and have sex if they wanted to.

A related question- do you think the state has a legitimate interest in sex when it can result in children who'd be at high risk of genetic defects?

CStanley said...

Sorry, cross posted and I see now that you addressed the genetic health of babies.

Dave Begley said...

Althouse: Your next law review article. "I'm my own Grandpa. Ruminations on equal protection and the goverment's legit interest in marriage."

Ann Althouse said...

I don't write law review articles.

Gahrie said...

I would suspect that the reason to marry has more to do with government benefits -- tax, welfare, etc.

So does gay marriage.

Mark said...

This topic has been discussed at length on this blog. If you're really curious about what I think about that, you could read the old posts.

And in that prior discussion, it was stated after the Supreme Court decisions -- which in part said that same-sex marriage had to be recognized because of estate taxes -- that it would be malpractice for lawyers to fail to advise their clients to marry their children or marry their parents in order to get the benefit of the marital deduction so their estates would pass tax free.

Under existing Supreme Court precedent, it is unjust and irrational discrimination to outlaw parent-child marriage.

Gahrie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gahrie said...

The cultural, philosophical, and religious meaning of marriage is not the government's business.

Tell that to the bakers and pizza parlor owners.

Mark said...

And by the way, considerations of incest, i.e. sexual activity between members of the same family, are irrelevant. Just because a parent and child marry does not mean that either one of them wants sex with the other -- that's not the point of the marriage. And besides, it is none of the government's business if two married people do not have sex.

Gahrie said...

Surely the writers of the 14th Amendment included a right to incestuous marriage....

Dave Begley said...

Your successor can write it. Hot topic. Cutting edge. Incest and polygamy is the new legal frontier.

Mark said...

The Supreme Court has reduced marriage to a mere financial transaction. Under that scheme, there is no good reason not to extend such financial benefits to whatever relationship two people wish to enter into it, whoever they are.

Sam L. said...

Well, they WON'T be having a biological child together...

MaxedOutMama said...

Why, Ann, WHY? There's nothing to say about this, nothing to learn, and nothing to discuss.

Why?

MaxedOutMama said...

Well, because "Heather Has Two Mommies and One of Them Is Heather's Grandma" seems perilously like child abuse?

Get real! There is an institution called marriage and the reason for its very existence is childbearing and, more importantly child-rearing. If you want to turn marriage into a purely economically-based relationship defined by demented lawyers, then to maintain the same level of social protection for children the state gets much more closely involved in sexual policing than it ever did before with a whole lot of more laws and the state's legal right to intrusiveness in what would normally be private matters. This road you are going down is going to end up looking a lot more like a totalitarian state than anything I consider morally acceptable, and children will be far less secure.

I am going to take a vacation from this blog. This is too perverse for me. It ought to be too perverse for you.

Gahrie said...

Why?

Because the transgender fight has already been won and it's time to move on to the next battle.

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

Just another day in the life of red state America, everybody!

I think the fact that she gave her the names Misty AND Velvet might have been a clue as to what sort of uses she envisioned that she would serve in life. Vaginal uses.

mockturtle said...

Reading Althouse these days is a lot like standing in the supermarket checkout looking at the National Enquirer headlines. I keep waiting for a thread about John Podesta abducted by space aliens.

n.n said...

By the power vested in me by the IRS, I now pronounce you corporate officers. You may kiss the vice president.

There is also unions for all without judgment... Whether it is incorporation or union, they are separable from marriage of a man and a woman, with children.

Pinandpuller said...

They can produce an embryo with three parents now, can't they? The ovum of one woman and the 23+23 alleles of two others.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The Toothless Revolutionary said...
Just another day in the life of red state America, everybody!

"David Epstein, a 46-year old political science professor at Columbia University, has been charged with third-degree incest for allegedly having consensual sexual relations with his 24-year-old daughter."
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/12/is_incest_a_twoway_street.html

And then there's this news from West Virginia, oops, it's New York again!

"The state’s highest court has toppled a cultural taboo — legalizing a degree of incest, at least between an uncle and niece — in a unanimous ruling.

While the laws against “parent-child and brother-sister marriages . . . are grounded in the almost universal horror with which such marriages are viewed . . . there is no comparably strong objection to uncle-niece marriages,” Tuesday’s ruling reads."

http://nypost.com/2014/10/29/new-york-state-blesses-incest-marriage-between-uncle-niece/

Bleach Drinkers Curing Coronavirus Together said...

That sounds like good news - at least for you, sexiled. Time for you and your favorite half-uncle to load up the Winnebago and head to the Big Apple!

BTW, nice way to blur the definitions, there - right-winger:

Marszalkowski determined that as a matter of consanguinity, or blood relations, half-uncles and nieces share the same level of genetic ties as first cousins — or only one-eighth the same DNA.

“It really was the equivalent of cousins marrying, which has been allowed in New York state for well over 100 years,” Marszalkowski said.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The Toothless Revolutionary said...
That sounds like good news - at least for you, sexiled. Time for you and your favorite half-uncle to load up the Winnebago and head to the Big Apple!"

I'd fit right in at Columbia U if I did that!

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

I know a professor at Columbia University was undoubtedly much better at coming up with refined and sophisticated rationalizations for why he was fucking his daughter than some Okie cracka is capable of. So there's that.

Unknown said...

Homosexual "relations" are vile, perverted, and contrary to anything normal or desirable for society - and is on par or worse than incest.

Inga...Allie Oop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga...Allie Oop said...

“Homosexual "relations" are vile, perverted, and contrary to anything normal or desirable for society - and is on par or worse than incest.”

Were you a daddy’s girl?

CERDIP said...

Okay, I've totally lost the plot.

Ipswichie said...

"It may be suspected that in almost all such places the higher deity is felt to be too far off for appeal in certain petty matters, and men invoke the spirits because they are in a more literal sense familiar spirits. But with the idea of employing the demons who get things done, a new idea appears more worthy of the demons. It may indeed be truly described as the idea of being worthy of the demons; of making oneself fit for their fastidious and exacting society. Superstition of the lighter sort toys with the idea that some trifle, some small gesture such as throwing the salt, may touch the hidden spring that works the mysterious machinery of the world. And there is after all something in the idea of such an Open Sesame. But with the appeal to lower spirits comes the horrible notion that the gesture must not only be very small but very low; that it must be a monkey trick of an utterly ugly and unworthy sort. Sooner or later a man deliberately sets himself to do the most disgusting thing he can think of."
Everlasting Man, GKC

JAORE said...

"Did this happen in Alabama?"

No.

Asshole.

stlcdr said...

“Blogger Ann Althouse said...
Why is the government's role in marriage about sex anyway?“

Who came up with the concept of marriage in the first place? This result is because homosexual relationships wanted to use the term ‘marriage’ to represent their union (which may be understandable, from a civil standpoint, as you wouldnt need to examine or rewrite/amend a slew of laws which benefit - sic - married couples). However, that’s the law as it has been written.

There was a lot of merit in defining a civil union, rather than applying a blanket ‘marriage’ application.