Friday, July 3, 2009

Presumptions

I recently spent about 5 minutes yelling at the radio. I get incredibly frustrated with stupid people in general, but even more so with those who are given public and open platforms like the radio. You would think the station owners would be a little more careful about hiring hosts, or at least that the producers of the show would be better about telling them when they are just flat wrong. I was listening to a talk show host discussing the Michael Jackson situation, and she was talking specifically about his children.

The details of how his children were conceived aren't fully clear, and to be totally honest, why should they be? Since when did it become anyone's business how someone chooses to become a parent just because they happen to be famous? The speculation currently is that his oldest two children were conceived outside the womb, through in vitro fertilization, and implanted into his then-wife, Debbie Rowe. Whether that marriage was ever anything close to resembling a real relationship is debatable, and it has always seemed to have been purely a marriage of convenience. She was his wife, on paper, and for the purposes of giving him kids. It doesn't seem that she got anything from the arrangement, except I assume to be paid handsomely.

Recent news reports have said that Jackson's sperm was not even used for the oldest two, and that it was instead from a donor. It is this point that the radio host seemed stuck on. If his sperm wasn't used, then the kids were never really his, and so then who gets custody after his death? People are so stupid. Of course the kids were his. While the genetic tie may be in question, they were his children. The host couldn't comprehend why he had never legally adopted the kids. Well, perhaps it was because he didn't need to. He was married to the mother, he was the intended father, his name is on the birth certificates. In the state of California, any man married to a woman who gives birth is automatically presumed to be the father. Period. He is the father. Whether he is genetically the father or not has absolutely no bearing on the situation at all. Whether the marriage was a sham, created solely for the purpose of enjoying that presumption, also doesn't matter.

She spent a good long time trying to analyze the situation the best that she could. Trying to decipher how the courts would go about determining custody in light of the fact that he wasn't really their father. It amazes me sometimes that people sitting behind a microphone don't think before they speak. The court will determine custody as they do in situations like this every day when the custodial parent is deceased. The wishes of the parent will be considered, but ultimately, the court will grant custody based on the best interests of the children. And the judge, I assure you, has no interest in where the sperm came from.

Much more troubling in my opinion is the status of the youngest child. Jackson was not married to the mother at the time of birth. If his sperm was not involved, and there is no genetic tie, he would have had to adopt the child to be the father. But that never happened. The only name on the birth certificate is Jackson's. There is no mother listed. Clearly, Jackson and his attorney held some powerful influence to accomplish that. What child has a birth certificate with no mother listed? I would think that whoever approved that birth certificate has some definite explaining to do. Assuming that there is no other legal document establishing legal parentage of the youngest child, the court would be put in the awkward position, it seems, of presuming that Jackson was indeed the father. He certainly was the intended father. And unless someone steps forward with contrary information that they can prove, he will be treated as such.

Jackson lived almost his entire life in the public eye, under the scrutiny of the microscope. Even in death, questions arise. And it seems that his children will not be able to escape the spotlight either. And, unfortunately, those children will not be able to avoid the idiocy of people who think that they are qualified to judge them - even when those people clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Give a stupid person a microphone and it won't make them more intelligent. It will just make them louder.

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