[Ads-l] "Incest" broadened?

Baker, John JBAKER at STRADLEY.COM
Fri Sep 9 11:11:24 EDT 2016


I'm not sure if the supposed broadening of "incest" referred to the inference of incest from the existence of a marriage or the application of an incest statute to a same-sex relationship.  Neither is really a new concept, but it will depend on the particular statute.  There is some uncertainty as to the validity of an incest statute as applied to a relationship between consenting adults, in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions.

As described in the case Christopher linked to, there is a fairly long history of heterosexual couples using adoption in order to create a formal relationship (e.g., to protect inheritances).  The propriety of such adoptions depends on the state adoption statute (some states allow them, some don't), and whether an adoptive relationship constitutes incest depends on the state incest statute (some states consider this incest, some don't).  There have been no recent prosecutions of adults in an adoption relationship for incest.


John Baker


-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Christopher Philippo
Sent: Friday, September 9, 2016 12:08 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: "Incest" broadened?

The use of the word "biological" is a clue, without even watching the ET segment, that foster care or adoption was involved at some point.  Indeed, the mother in the case had had her parental rights terminated years ago (I haven't seen a story that indicated how many years) and the children's grandmother adopted them (I haven't seen any story that indicated if there was any contact between the biological mother and her children subsequent to that intrafamilial adoption though the mention of reuniting suggests perhaps there hadn't been contact). http://bigstory.ap.org/article/db9578aa3abd44929051b2b703f86de6/mom-daughter-charged-incest-after-marrying-oklahoma

It's perhaps possible that there was not sexual relationship involved but that the woman was using marriage as a way of recreating a legal relationship while circumventing issues that could have been involved with readopting her biological children.  Though I doubt that was the case with the Spanns, I recalled reading of cases involving homosexual couples who sought to use adoption as a way of creating a legal relationship when same-sex marriage was illegal.  See e.g. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1046340773057337456

Another possibility that came to mind, though I find the concept dubious, was "genetic sexual attraction."  Others already made that connection with the Spann story, I found http://kfor.com/2016/09/08/have-you-ever-heard-of-genetic-sexual-attraction/

As for the Oklahoma Child Welfare Agency being involved, it could be because of history they had - perhaps they'd been involved in the original termination of parental rights and/or with the intrafamilial adoption.  It could also be that they were the only agency approaching something apropos - I doubt if there's an Oklahoma Incestuous Marriage Agency!

I'm lost as to how "incest" is being broadened with this story, though?  Laws on the subject often do indicate incest is committed by either sexual intercourse or by marriage.

2014 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 21. Crimes and Punishments
§21-885. Incest.
Universal Citation: 21 OK Stat § 21-885 (2014)
Persons who, being within the degrees of consanguinity within which marriages are by the laws of the state declared incestuous and void, intermarry with each other, or commit adultery or fornication with each other, shall be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding ten (10) years.
http://law.justia.com/codes/oklahoma/2014/title-21/section-21-885


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