Cary News: Opinion

Kimberly Yaman: Don’t punish children

Don’t punish children

In the 1960s, my sisters were born “out of wedlock” to my mother and stepfather, who were denied a marriage by their church. It was painful beyond words for my sisters to bear the stigma of being known as bastards. Their church refused to baptize them, and my devoutly religious little sister was denied the opportunity to portray the Virgin Mary in her school’s Christmas pageant, because she wasn’t considered pure enough.

It’s no longer a cultural crime for a child to be born without his or her parents’ being married. Kids can grow up free of that stigma – and they will remain free if Amendment One doesn’t pass on May 8. mendment One would require North Carolina to recognize only marriage between a man and a woman. No other civil unions will be recognized. People who have children while in a common-law union will have no standing in court when it comes to child-custody issues, community property in case of separation, or the right to make medical decisions for his or her partner in an emergency.

It’s wrong to stigmatize a large number of North Carolina children by turning them into bastards, and it’s wrong for the government to tell two people that their committed relationship fails to meet the narrow definition of marriage as determined by the state.

Kimberly Yaman