Should Baby Mamas be Forced to Marry?

Suzanne Murray

state forces man to marry baby's mother

Here comes the bride ...

against her will

Should the state you live in be able to force you to get married just because you have a baby? Legislators in the state of Michigan say yes. In that state, birthing costs are waived if the baby's father marries the baby's mother. But what if the couple doesn't want to marry? Or what if they do— but not just yet? That's the case with Rebecca Witt, who gave birth to a baby girl, JaeLyn.

Rebecca wants to marry Gary Johnson, JaeLyn's dad, but only when she is good and ready. Here's the problem: Because they aren't married, the state has billed Johnson $3,800 for the hospital costs. If Gary and Rebecca were married, they wouldn't have to pay anything.

Like a lot of us, the couple doesn't have a lot of cash right now. They don't own a car or an oven, and the state is billing Gary $500 a month, which he can't afford. The state says too bad—the law is an incentive to "maintain the sanctity of marriage" and "until they can produce a marriage license, they have to pay."

"I don't think anybody should tell me when to get married," says Rebecca. "I would like to have a nice wedding, and I can wait for it."

What do you think? Should the government be permitted to force a couple to get married because they've had a baby together?

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