July 16, 2007
When 3 Really Is a Crowd
By ELIZABETH MARQUARDT
SOMETIMES when the earth shudders it doesn’t make a sound. That’s what happened in Harrisburg, Pa., recently.
On April 30, a state Superior Court panel ruled that a child can have three legal parents. The case, Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, involved two lesbians who were the legal co-parents of two children conceived with sperm donated by a friend. The panel held that the sperm donor and both women were all liable for child support. Arthur S. Leonard, a professor at New York Law School, observed, “I’m unaware of any other state appellate court that has found that a child has, simultaneously, three adults who are financially obligated to the child’s support and are also entitled to visitation.”
The case follows a similar decision handed down by a provincial court in Ontario in January. In what appeared to be the first such ruling in any Western nation, the court ruled that a boy can legally have three parents. In that case the biological mother and father had parental rights and wished for the biological mother’s lesbian partner, who functions as the boy’s second mother, to have such rights as well.
The idea of assigning children three legal parents is not limited to North America. In 2005, expert commissions in Australia and New Zealand proposed that sperm or egg donors be allowed to “opt in” as a child’s third parent. That same year, scientists in Britain received state permission to create an embryo from the DNA of three adults, raising the real possibility that they all could be granted equal legal claims to the child if the embryo developed to term.
Astonishingly, few legal experts, politicians or social commentators have considered the enormous risks these rulings and proposals pose for children. Those who have noticed tend to say they are nothing new, because many children already grow up with several parent figures. But this fails to recognize that stepchildren and adopted children still have only two legal parents.
Supporters of the rulings argue that if two parents are good for children, aren’t three better? True, some three-parent petitions are brought by adults who appear deeply committed to the child in question. In the Ontario case, the two women and the father all seem devoted to the boy. But in Pennsylvania, the sperm donor, whom the children called “Papa,” was ordered to pay child support over his objections, and the lesbian co-mothers have already ended their relationship.
What is the harm if other American courts follow Pennsylvania’s example? For one thing, three-parent situations typically involve a couple and a third person living separately, meaning the child will get shuffled between homes, and this raises problems.
A few years ago, along with Norval Glenn, a sociologist at the University of Texas, I compiled the first nationwide study of children who grow up in so-called “good” divorces — that is, families in which both divorced parents stay involved in the child’s life and control their own conflict. We found that even these children must grow up traveling between two worlds, having to make sense on their own of the different values, beliefs and ways of living they find in each home. They have to grow up too soon. When a court assigns a child several parents, some of whom never intend to share a home, they consign that child, at best, to a “good” divorce situation.
Of course, sometimes the three adults might want to live together, which leads to a different set of concerns. As one advocate of polygamy argued in Newsweek, “If Heather can have two mommies, she should also be able to have two mommies and a daddy.” If more children are granted three legal parents, what is our rationale for denying these families the rights and protections of marriage? America, get ready for the group-marriage debate.
And these are merely the worries if the three parents cooperate. But, as the Pennsylvania case shows, they may not. Conflicts will undoubtedly arise when three parents confront the sticky, conflict-ridden reality of child-raising, often leading to a nasty, three-way custody battle. Even if they part amicably, they may still want to live in three different homes. In that case, how many homes should children travel between to satisfy the parenting needs of many adults?
Finally, why should courts stop at assigning children only three parents? Some situations involve a couple who wants the child, the sperm donor, the egg donor and the gestational surrogate who carries the pregnancy. If we allow three legal parents, why not five?
Fortunate children have many people who love them as much as their parents do. But in the best interests of children, no court should break open the rule of two when assigning legal parenthood.
Elizabeth Marquardt, a vice president of the Institute for American Values, is the author of the forthcoming “My Daddy’s Name Is Donor.”
Mowla Ali Madad Shams and thanks for the details about the incident.
I dont believe that Jews and Christians are Ahle-kitab. As per what I think, generally muslims have idea that Islam is the only true religion, the religion of Christians and Jews were also religion of Allah and He revealed books on them but got corrupted and other religions are just man made. But I do not agree with it.
In verse 70 of Moman Chetamni Syed Imam Shah says, "All the religions that have been created, they all have Ali as their solvent. Hindu or Muslim may stay true to their principles, but in fact, there is only one God and that is Ali."
Just to update you - they have named the husband of shemina as a suspect in her murder..it was also reported that when he was arrested..he was planning to leave the country.
on the other front...As per the Muslim Doctrine, Jews and Christians are considered Ahl Kitab..and Males are permited to marry from those faiths.
Got to know this from Mr. XYZ and would like to share it with you.
( I would not like to mention the names)
A Ismaili girl from Mumbai fell in love with a hindu guy. Hindu boy also love the girl very much. Girl went to XYZ and cried and said she wish to marry only with Ismaili and the boy to whom she loves also wish from his heart to accept Ismailism so what to do? XYZ told her to give application in Tariqa board or do talk with members of Tariqa board so they may help you.
The application was not accepted either or the satisfactory answer was not given. Then XYZ himself went to Tariqa board to talk about it.
He told that the guy is nice and want to accept the faith.
He was given reply that it is not our policy.
XYZ asked hows that?
He was given reply that in past there were many incidents in which non ismailis pretended that they want to embrace Ismailism however their purpose was just to cause harm to ismailis or get information about Ismailism.
XYZ replied that there are accidents on road also it not means that we should stop driving altogether. If that is the matter then you should do complete inquiry and then answer.
Love is blind and at this age people are usually very emotional and some times in dissapointment and frustrations they may do some thing which will be harmful for them also and their loss will also our loss.
He was given reply ok let her marry with Hindu. We dont reply the application so quickly. It may take several years in inquiry.
Girl was upset to hear this. She was in confustion what to do. As she can not wait for so many years in hope to get reply.
Girl married the hindu boy but as per Muslim traditions i.e, by Nikah and not saath pheras and hindu customs. Because they were told to do it in muslim style otherwise there may be problems for them as the guy had already given application for becoming Ismaili.
They are married and living happily. The guy gives dasond, say Ya Ali Madad but is not Ismaili officially.
Grandmother was pretending to be lost in prayer, but her prayer-beads were spinning at top speed. That meant she was either excited or upset.
Mother put the receiver down. "Some American girl in his office, she's coming to stay with us for a week." She sounded as if she had a deep foreboding.
Father had no such doubt. He knew the worst was to come.
He had been matching horoscopes for a year, but my brother Vivek had found a million excuses for not being able to visit India , call any of the chosen Iyer girls, or in any other way advance father's cause.
Father always wore four parallel lines of sacred ash on his forehead.
Now there were eight, so deep were the furrows of worry on his forehead. I sat in a corner, supposedly lost in a book, but furiously text-messaging my brother with a vivid description of the scene before me.
A few days later I stood outside the airport with father. He tried not to look directly at any American woman going past, and held up the card reading "Barbara". Finally a large woman stepped out, waved wildly and shouted "Hiiii! Mr. Aayyyezh, how ARE you?" Everyone turned and looked at us. Father shrank visibly before my eyes. Barbara took three long steps and covered father in a tight embrace. Father's jiggling out of it was too funny to watch. I could hear him whispering "Shiva Shiva!". She shouted "you must be Vijaantee?" "Yes, Vyjayanthi" I said with a smile. I imagined little half-Indian children calling me "Vijaantee aunty!". Suddenly,
my colorless existence in Madurai had perked up. For at least the next one week, life promised to be quite exciting.
Soon we were eating lunch at home. Barbara had changed into an even shorter skirt. The low neckline of her blouse was just in line with father's eyes.
He was glaring at mother as if she had conjured up Barbara just to torture him. Barbara was asking "You only have vegetarian food? Always??" as if the idea was shocking to her. "You know what really goes well with Indian food, especially chicken? Indian beer!" she said with a pleasant smile, seemingly oblivious to the apoplexy of the gentleman in front of her, or the choking sounds coming from mother. I had to quickly duck under the table to hide my giggles.Everyone tried to get the facts without asking the one question on all our minds: What was the exact nature of the relationship between Vivek and Barbara?
She brought out a laptop computer. "I have some pictures of Vivek" she said. All of us crowded around her. The first picture was quite innocuous.
Vivek was wearing shorts and standing alone on the beach. In the next photo, he had Barbara draped all over him. She was wearing a skimpy bikini and leaning across, with her hand lovingly circling his neck. Father got up, and flicked the towel off his shoulder. It was a gesture we in the family had learned to fear. He literally ran to the door and went out.
Barbara said "It must be hard for Mr. Aayyezh.
He must be missing his son." We didn't have the heart to tell her that if said son had been within reach, father would have lovingly wrung his neck.
My parents and grandmother apparently had reached an unspoken agreement.
They would deal with Vivek later. Right now Barbara was a foreigner, a lone woman, and needed to be treated as an honored guest. It must be said that Barbara didn't make that one bit easy. Soon mother wore a perpetual frown.
Father looked as though he could use some of that famous Indian beer.
Vivek had said he would be in a conference in Guatemala all week, and would be off both phone and email. But Barbara had long lovey-dovey conversations with two other men, one man named Steve and another named Keith. The rest of us strained to hear every interesting word. "I miss you!" she said to both. She also kept talking with us about Vivek, and about the places they'd visited together. She had pictures to prove it, too. It was all very confusing.
This was the best play I'd watched in a long time. It was even better than the day my cousin ran away with a Telugu Christian girl. My aunt had come howling through the door, though I noticed that she made it to the plushest sofa before falling in a faint. Father said that if it had been his child, the door would have been forever shut in his face. Aunt promptly revived and said "You'll know when it is your child!" How my aunt would rejoice if she knew of Barbara!
On day five of her visit, the family awoke to the awful sound of
Barbara's retching. The bathroom door was shut, the water was running, but far louder was the sound of Barbara crying and throwing up at the same time.
Mother and grandmother exchanged ominous glances. Barbara came out and her face was red. "I don't know why", she said, "I feel queasy in the mornings now." If she had seen as many Indian movies as I'd seen, she'd know why.
Mother was standing as if turned to stone. Was she supposed to react with the compassion reserved for pregnant women? With the criticism reserved for pregnant unmarried women? With the fear reserved for pregnant unmarried foreign women who could embroil one's son in a paternity suit?
Mother, who navigated familiar flows of married life with the skill of a champion oarsman, now seemed completely taken off her moorings.
She seemed to hope that if she didn't react it might all disappear
like a bad dream. I made a mental note to not leave home at all for the next week.Whatever my parents would say to Vivek when they finally got a-hold of him would be too interesting to miss. But they never got a chance. The day Barbara was to leave, we got a terse email from Vivek. "Sorry, still stuck in Guatemala . Just wanted to mention, another friend of mine, Sameera
Sheikh, needs a place to stay. She'll fly in from Hyderabad tomorrow at 10am . Sorry for the trouble."
So there we were, father and I, with a board saying "Sameera". At last a pretty young woman in salwar-khameez saw the board, gave the smallest of smiles, and walked quietly towards us. When she did 'Namaste' to father, I thought I saw his eyes mist up. She took my hand in the friendliest way and said "Hello, Vyjayanthi, I've heard so much about you." I fell in love with her. In the car father was unusually friendly. She and Vivek had been
in the same group of friends in Ohio University. She now worked as a Child Psychologist.
She didn't seem to be too bad at family psychology either. She took out a shawl for grandmother, a saree for mother and Hyderabadi bangles for me." Just some small things. I have to meet a professor at Madurai University and it's so nice of you to let me stay" she said. Everyone cheered up. Even grandmother smiled. At lunch she said "This is so nice. When I make sambar,
it comes out like chole, and my chole tastes just like sambar".
Mother was smiling. "Oh just watch for 2 days, you'll pick it up." Grandmother had never allowed a muslim to enter the kitchen.
But mother seemed to have taken charge, and decided she would bring in who ever she felt was worthy. Sameera circumspectly stayed out of the puja room, but on the third day, was stunned to see father inviting her in and telling her which idols had come to him from his father. "God is one" he said. Sameera nodded sagely.
By the fifth day, I could see the thought forming in the family's
collective brains. If this fellow had to choose his own bride, why
couldn't it be someone like Sameera? On the sixth day, when Vivek called from the airport saying he had cut short his Guatemala trip and was on his way home, all had a million things to discuss with him.
He arrived by taxi at a time when Sameera had gone to the University.
"So, how was Barbara's visit?" he asked blithely. "How do you know her?" mother asked sternly. "She's my secretary" he said. "She works very hard, and she'll do anything to help."
He turned and winked at me.
Oh, I got the plot now! By the time Sameera returned home that
evening, it was almost as if her joining the family was the elders' idea. "Don't
worry about anything", they said, "we'll talk with your parents."
On the wedding day a huge bouquet arrived from Barbara.
"Flight to India - $1500.
Indian kurta - $15.
Emetic to throw up - $1.
The look on your parents' faces - priceless" J
Forsake the Ismaili faith???
I am sorry..i find that to be very blasphemous..
on the one hand..you claim to be a dedicated ismaili....and yet you forget what Ismailism is..
Complete and total submission to the Shah/Pir of the time.
Farman of the pir in a very simple ginan.
"Apni Naath Chodi Par Nathe Vevar na Kijiye".
Whilst I am happy to see that he isn't going to convert for the sake of marrying you (which is a lot of what i see these days, non ismailies converting, not because they have faith in Hazar Imam, but because they're married to an Ismaili and the only way they could marry that person was if they converted - that is a form of hypocrisy in my book) but
I have been following the Shemina Hirji Incident in Vancouver and am very saddened to hear that it could be a honor killing by her new husband's family who it is also rumored had their own daughter's throat slit in India for marrying out of the caste.
I have also been aware of other such incidents in our communities all across the world.
I've had a cousin shot because he wanted to get married to a sikh girl who was ready to convert, her family did not approve..so shot him.
We have ismaili girls in Dar Es Salaam marrying Ithna Asheri and Hindu boys almost every other month because they claim that the Non Ismaili boys are better able to provide financially for them.
But this is my opinion.
As MHI said in the 70's (and i paraphrase) what was once unacceptable is now tolerated and may soon become acceptable..i guess we're heading down that path.
We have ismaili girls in Dar Es Salaam marrying Ithna Asheri and Hindu boys almost every other month because they claim that the Non Ismaili boys are better able to provide financially for them.
ShamsB, Here I am going to praise you for your frankness and use your
quoted statement for making a point by assuming a neutral point of view.
I see cooperation in JK exemplary. Many many good people. But I have
to tell you, indeed remind you of the Firman of Imam Sultan Mohammad
Shah that you khojas are jealous of each other ....
Why is it that the other community boys are better able to financially
provide for your girls ? Why is it that you are less capable than other?
It is because you do not cooperate. I have a lot of stories to tell but
not in public. If some council member or tariqa board person has the
shame and sense of responsibility, they contact me personally so that
I can tell them why you are where you are.
There is no lack of talent in the Ismaili community. We have a lot to give.
We have a lot to gain.
And if you dont rectify your situation soon enough, the Imam would find
followers from other communities. I will simply remind you of the
migration from Egypt to Iran where almost all the followers in Egypt
were shed and new started in Alamut and through the advance planned
missions to India and elsewhere.
Imam's firmans and example is quite clear. He works hard. He is frank
and humble. He is congenial. He is helpful. He thinks of others. True that
he has more resources, but each one of us has resources. If we dont have
cash, we may have a lot of ideas. It is not the Imam who is holding you
behind, it is you who are holding him behind. He praises you to encourage
you. But I am sure, he knows that you are not working as hard, as good
as you can. I dont want to mention specifics in the public, but I am telling
from a lot of experience.
Ya Ali Madad.
I am not in Dar es salaam btw..
however what i will say is that whilst on the one hand i agree with you..that we have no UNITY..no COOPERATION...are filled with intense envy and jealousy for our other ismaili brethern (a very khoja trait) and can not see anyone do better than us...but another thing that Hazar Imam keeps on pointing out..is POVERTY.
What is left in Dar es salaam, in the majority of the East African Ismaili Community is extremes..either the very rich..or the very poor..there is hardly a middle class left anymore....think of it this way...a family with a husband and a wife..husband barely educated beyond High School and Wife - at high school level...since they're from somewhat the old school..they have anywhere from 3-4 children...so the wife stays at home to raise the children..the husband makes about 400,000 shs a month...
House rent is 100,000 shs ...dasond is 50,000, school fees range from 80,000 per child to 100,000 per child...that isn't taking into account food or any other household expenses..this is the case across many many households in Tanzania. When sons finish Form 4..they rarely get good grades..as due to the financial situation at home..they haven't been able to study (you tell me..if you have an empty stomach...will you be able to concentrate on your education?).....and after form 4..they take a job working in someone's shop...at 200,000 shs per month..or a similar position.
If someone is bright..god forbid they belong to a poor family..because chances for further education are slim to nil...
this is what Hazar Imam refers to when He constantly mentions enabling environments...when He reminds those of us that are well off to help our poor brethern in the spirit of islam.
Charity begins at home....
If you go to Dar es salaam - as I had the opportunity to do so after a period of 10 years..you will be astounded to see the progress made by the Ithna Asheri Community...there are buildings and flats put up for their community members...their schools are on the upswing....even the Bohoras are progressing...
I agree with you in that We have NO unity....however are we doing anything about it..are we in the WEST..helping those in need...are we reaching out..
or are we saying..well..they don't cooperate...so we're not going to do anything about it...how are we improving the situation.
I am willing to work with people to put together a fund of sorts to help students and senior citizens in east africa cope..
just in Dar es salaam..we have a widow house on Darkhana premises that would love to get some help from us...there are folks living in the old resthouse across from Darkhana who have also been forsaken by their families....(most of whom now live in the WEST)....we can help them if we so desire..$10 a month goes a long way.
Sorry to ramble..but Tanzania has also faced a huge amount of braindrain..the majority of ismailies that come to the west on student visas do not return to tanzania to help build tanzania..i too am guilty of that....that is one reason we have been lagging behind.
September 20, 2007
25th Anniversary Mark Elusive for Many Couples
By SAM ROBERTS
Don’t stock up on silver anniversary cards. More than half the Americans who might have celebrated their 25th wedding anniversaries since 2000 were divorced, separated or widowed before reaching that milestone, according to the latest census survey, released yesterday.
For the first time at least since World War II, women and men who married in the late 1970s had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later.
“We know that somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages dissolve,” said Barbara Risman, executive officer of the Council on Contemporary Families, a research group. “Now, when people marry, everyone wonders, is this one of those marriages that will be around for awhile.”
But David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, a marriage research and advocacy group, said he was struck that the percentage of people who celebrated their 15th anniversary had declined. “This seems to be saying more recent marriages are more fragile,” Mr. Blankenhorn said.
About 80 percent of first marriages that took place in the late 1950s lasted at least 15 years. Among people who married in the late 1980s for the first time, however, only 61 percent of the men and 57 percent of the women were married 15 years later.
Among currently married women, non-Hispanic whites were the only group in which a majority had marked their 15th anniversary.
The survey by the Census Bureau, in 2004, confirmed that most Americans eventually marry, but they are marrying later and are slightly more likely to marry more than once.
Those trends continued, although the latest numbers suggest an uptick in the divorce rate among people married in the most recent 20 years covered in the report, 1975-1994. The proportion of all Americans who have been divorced, about one in five, remained constant, however.
“Basically, it looks like we’re pretty much holding steady,” said Rose Kreieder, a Census Bureau demographer. “There are not radical differences.”
The survey of the civilian, non-institutionalized population found a number of disparities on the basis of race and ethnicity.
Among men over 15, the percentage who have never been married was 45 percent for blacks, 39 percent for Hispanics, 33 percent for Asians and 28 percent for whites.
Among women over 15, it was 44 percent for blacks, 30 percent for Hispanics, 23 percent for Asians and 22 percent for whites.
Among Americans married in the 1950s, about 70 percent were still married by their 25th anniversary. Only 49.5 percent of men and 46.4 percent of women who married in the late 1970s were married 25 years later.
In 2004, among people in their late 20s, a majority of men — 54 percent — had never married, and 41 percent of women had not. In 1996, the comparable figures were 49 percent among men and 35 percent among women.
In the latest analysis of people age 15 and older, 58 percent of women and 54 percent of men had married only once. In 1996, the figures were about 60 percent for women and 54 percent for men.
One statistical constant has been the so-called seven-year itch, as popularized in the 1950s play and film about errant husbands. Couples who separate do so, on average, after seven years and divorce after eight. The duration of first marriages that end in divorce appears to have increased slightly among men.
Among adults 25 and older who had been divorced, 52 percent of men and 44 percent of women were currently married.
On average, people who marry again typically do so in about three-and-a-half years. Second marriages that end in divorce last about 8.6 years for men and 7.2 years for women.
In 2004, 12 percent of men and 13 percent of women had married twice. Three percent each had married three or more times.
The oldest baby boomers recorded the highest divorce rates. Among people in their 50s, 38 percent of men and 41 percent of women had been divorced. In 1996, the comparable figures were 36 percent and 35 percent.
One factor that also affects the marriage trends is that people are living longer. As a result, the median age at which women in a first marriage were widowed rose from 57.8 in 1996 to 60.3 in 2004. Among men, the median age increased from 59.6 to 61.3.
Census results released last week also confirmed the finding by demographers earlier this year that more American women were living without a husband than with one. Among women 20 and older, 51.2 percent said that they were divorced, separated or their spouse was temporarily absent or that they had never been married when the American Community Survey was taken in 2006.
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