Couple Resists Latest Attempt to Legislate Social Behavior

January 21, 2009 03:02 PM by Cara McDonough Throughout history, government attemps to legislate social behavior have often met with rebellion from the general public. Now one couple is standing up to Michigan’s paternity act.

Parents Speaks Out

Rebecca Witt and Gary Johnson aren’t falling into line.

The couple, who have three children, face a choice: if the two get married, Johnson can forgo paying $3,800 in medical bills accrued during their daughter’s birth about a year ago. The couple is permitted to do so because the state’s paternity act allows a father to waive the fees if he marries the child’s mother. Medicaid paid for Witt’s bills at the time, but Johnson is now responsible for 49 percent of the total.

Johnson hasn’t paid, but the couple says it isn’t because of the money. “I don’t think anybody has a right to tell anyone who they have to marry or when they have to get married,” Witt said, reports The Detroit News.

Apparently marriage is more important than money to the state. The law was enacted five years ago in an effort to “maintain the sanctity of marriage,” according to Genesee County officials. Advocacy groups across the country have reacted to the recent case.

“It is despicable that the state would wave medical bills like a shotgun in the face of a low-income (family),” said Nicky Grist of the group Alternatives to Marriage, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., according to the Chicago Tribune.

Other groups, like Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association, commend Michigan’s actions, saying government has the authority to encourage marriage and should do so for the “stability of society,” reports the Tribune.

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14 Responses to “Couple Resists Latest Attempt to Legislate Social Behavior”

  1. bigdraws Says:

    touchy subject. One of the very reasons MS is the poorest state in the country. Saw a survey awhile back that said that well over 50% of all babies born around Greenville last year were out of wedlock.

  2. jr85reb Says:

    This is just wrong in soooo many ways….

  3. jr85reb Says:

    Also saw where Mississippi has the highest rate of teen birth in the U.S.

  4. bigdraws Says:

    Why do we have to be the worst in all the good catagories and first in all the bad ones.

  5. jr85reb Says:

    Because Alabama, Arkansas and Louisana lie about their numbers or can’t count, one or the other.

  6. bigdraws Says:

    According to wikipedia we are 27th in murder rate. Hey, I’ll take it.

  7. jr85reb Says:

    Hey T-Town Talk, I think you might of have out done Bizz Buzz today.

  8. bigdraws Says:

    Hey ttalk, you think it’s a concedence that there’s 45 comments on the Mullen topic?

  9. tupelotalk Says:

    I assume everyone is a Cowbell Swingin’ Dawg Fan, other than jr85reb.

    Don’t worry, I’ll throw a Dawg a bone every once and awhile !

  10. bigdraws Says:

    Yeah, except for bwm. I think he’s a cats fan.

  11. bigdraws Says:

    About your blog. I honestly didn’t know it existed. I did enjoy some of the previous topics I’ve read on it though.

  12. tupelotalk Says:

    Mammoth, I figured him for a Tide fan

  13. bigdraws Says:

    I think you’re right actually. I’ll be in Tloosa for the showdown in February. Try to make it over there everytime the dawgs are playing. Hoping we can make it 6 in a row over those guys.

  14. farley662 Says:

    I think he’s a Big Gay Al fan myself.

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