Okay, here is what I got in my inbox this today, another ignorant article. Not only does it wrongfully condemn consanguinamory, but it also condemns other relationships too… as you will very shortly see. It’s another variant on the ‘protecting the vulnerable’ argument, which just does not hold water when it comes to consenting adults. Anyway, let’s start:
When Woody Allen married Soon-Yi Previn more than 20 years ago, the scandal that engulfed the couple was enough to stain the reputation of a director as august as Allen. Not only was Previn 35 years Allen’s junior, she was the adopted daughter of Allen’s longtime partner, Mia Farrow. Moreover, Allen admitted to a relationship that began with Previn years before their marriage, at a time when Previn was barely old enough to purchase alcohol.
So, if she was barely old enough to purchase alcohol, it means that she WAS old enough to buy it… which means she had recently become an ADULT in the eyes of the law. As an adult, she has the right to choose her own partner, even if that partner is many years her senior. Age-gap relationships are nothing new, they’ve happened a lot throughout human history, and in most cases they are loving couples just like anyone else.
But under New York law, Allen and Previn’s marriage was perfectly permissible.
There is no reason it shouldn’t be, they were both adults and competent to make that decision for themselves. Other peoples approval or disapproval be damned.
Now that Allen is back in the news – the 80-year-old director’s latest film, Café Society, premieres in July – it’s also time to revisit whether state laws have kept up with changes in family demographics. The circumstances surrounding relationships like Previn and Allen’s are not so rare today.
So, she was his partner/ex-partners adopted child… now an adult. They aren’t related, and even if they were it shouldn’t matter. They are consenting adults and capable of making their own choices. If others don’t like it, that’s their problem.
Since Previn and Allen’s marriage 20 years ago, the share of “blended” families has risen dramatically. Today, more than 5.3 million children live with a biological parent and their parent’s new spouse. In addition, more than 2.3 million children live in a “stepfamily” in which the child’s parent is not married to the new partner but is cohabiting. The rise in multiple partner fertility means that many children (like Previn) have a parent (like Farrow) who has a child in common with a new partner (like Allen), but the adults never marry or cohabit.
None of which matters. There are only TWO questions that need answering here: Are they both adults? Are they both competent and consenting? If yes to both, then nobody has the right to try to destroy that. In this case, they are both adults, and yes, they are both competent and consenting, for me that is case closed. There is nothing wrong with their relationship.
New York law permitted Previn and Allen to have sex and marry because Previn was not Allen’s biological child.
Even if she was, it shouldn’t matter to the state. There are plenty of people who have loving relationships with one of their parents, who would marry them if they could, and yet are denied their rights to do so. There isn’t any valid reason to persecute people for consensual incest.
States with laws more restrictive than New York’s would not have barred the relationship either.
And nor should they.
Previn was not Allen’s adopted child, nor was she his stepchild because Woody Allen and Mia Farrow never married. Allen and Farrow never even cohabited. They were reputed to have separate apartments that faced each other, with Central Park in the middle.
So the only ‘wrong’ really you can see is that he was her mothers ex… you can’t go around wanting to lock people up for having relationships with people who were the exes of their family members, that’s ridiculous.
Allen, however, was the father of Previn’s half-siblings. Allen and Farrow were parents to a biological child (originally named Satchal, but later called Ronan) and to two adopted children (named Moses and Dylan). Allen and Previn’s relationship fell between the cracks of existing incest prohibitions.
Well for a starters, this isn’t incest, it’s a slightly taboo age-gap relationship. Secondly, what does his being the father of her half-siblings have to do with anything? Finally, the incest prohibitions should not be there in the first place, they’re discriminatory, bigoted and immoral.
It also avoided the general prohibition on marriages in violation of “natural law” because that quaint concept predates today’s diverse households. As a result, Allen and Previn could marry in Italy, and their marriage received recognition in New York.
The ‘natural law’ legislation presumes that incest is unnatural… which isn’t the case at all. Some of us are wired up for such relationships and it is natural to us. The very concept of a ‘natural law’ is pretty much illogical anyway since legislation and marriage certificates are very much a man-made thing, they don’t exist in nature but for the fact we created them.
Some readers may be asking “why should the law prohibit the Allen-Previn marriage?” After all, shouldn’t two consenting adults be able to enter the most “profound” of unions, as Justice Kennedy called marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges? Without marriage, would their two adopted children have found a home? Or at least one as a comfortable as their abode on the Upper East Side (which was featured in Architectural Digest)?
So let me see if I understand this correctly, they adopted two kids and gave them a good home, and they have a happy and comfortable life…. and you want to have their marriage outlawed? Are you INSANE?
You know guys, it’s people like this author who want to tear up every non-traditional home. It’s a heartless attitude and does nothing to improve anyone’s lives. This is what you call PREJUDICE, and it’s a very ugly thing indeed.
Obviously, schadenfreude is not a sufficient reason to call the Allen-Previn marriage “incestuous.” Nor should we condemn it because we fear for their offspring. This Jewish movie director and this Korean-born woman are not genetically related. Nor should we use Dylan Farrow’s allegations that Allen sexually abused her when she was seven years old as a justification. Allen vehemently denies those allegations, and he has never been convicted, let alone charged.
So, on what grounds does this bigot want to ban their marriage?
Nonetheless we can—and should—condemn such a relationship, and relationships like it, to protect all children.
I thought we had already established that she was an adult at the time the relationship began, granted she was a young adult, but an adult nonetheless. Banning relationships between consenting adults does absolutely NOTHING to protect the welfare of children from predatory pedophiles. Harsher sentences for child molesting would be the most logical answer to that problem.
Children in the home should not be potential future marriage partners.
While children are in the process of being raised, no parent in their right mind would see them as potential future partners. However, if something develops when the child is now a legal adult, then they should be free to explore that relationship without the law interfering in what is clearly their business.
Some states already bar intercourse and marriage between an adult and his or her stepchild for this very reason, even though the two are not biologically related and are both adults when the prohibited conduct occurs.
Which is discriminatory and wrong, it shouldn’t even matter if there is a biological relationship or not, or if one raised the other or not… what matters is that they are consenting adults.
Margaret Mead once warned, “Where the more broadly based sanctioning system has broken down, the household may become a setting for cross-generational reciprocal seduction and exploitation, rather than fulfilling its historic role of protecting the immature and permitting the safe development of strong affectional ties….”
Because, you know, seduction and exploitation are unique to incest *rolls eyes* [/sarcasm]. Some people get taken for a mug by their partner, it’s a fact of life… but you wouldn’t ban all relationships because of a few bad apples. Apply the same principal to incest, outlaw abuse whilst protecting consenting adults… there, job done, very simple.
Even the relationship between “consenting” adults can be tarnished by coercion if its genesis was one person’s childhood home.
It shouldn’t even be an issue. Why is consenting in speechmarks? Do you doubt a young adult can consent to sex with either their parent, step-parent or other older adult? Jeez, you really need to read my blog.
A bill currently pending in New Jersey would criminalize consensual incest between a parent and an adult child.
I hope this bill never passes, as it would criminalize many loving couples who do nothing wrong and who contribute to society. You don’t have to like them or approve of them, but you do have to let them live in peace.
Former assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini correctly noted, “Incestuous relationships…are often times sexually abusive relationships blurred by the ‘consensual’ loophole.”
Now there is a contradictory statement if ever I heard one, if it’s consensual, then it is not abusive. Would you mind explaining that to those of us who fell in love with a parent and pursued a relationship? This lady clearly doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
A bright line would render irrelevant Allen’s claim that he never acted as a “father figure” to Previn.
Even if he did… so what?
Incest laws are applied without attention to such situation-specific factors.
Just blanket discrimination is your answer then? Asshole.
People aren’t left to guess, and debate, where the lines should be drawn.
Well a more sensible place to draw it would be allow all consenting adults, ban anything else.
That is as it should be, for only considerable psychoanalysis might determine whether Previn ever saw Allen as a father figure when their relationship began.
Well, have you any reason to doubt her sincerity when she says that she didn’t see him as such? I doubt it.
Allen has subsequently acknowledged that his marriage to Previn was a success because of this “dynamic” during the marriage: “I was paternal. She responded to someone paternal.”
There is nothing wrong with that.
People do not always have the self-awareness or self-restraint that they need to make wise choices, especially when their biological urges are pulling them in a particular direction. During custody proceedings with Mia Farrow, Allen said that he didn’t see his relationship with Previn as “sleeping with [his] children’s sister.” The law should have told him otherwise.
Whether somebody’s relationship choices are wise or not are for the people involved to decide, not the state. There are in fact many relationships that are CLEARLY a bad idea, but we do not ban them, such as somebody dating a drug user or a gambler. Where incest is concerned, sometimes it might be a bad idea, sometimes it is a very GOOD idea, depending on the people involved and the quality of their relationship. Banning it because somebody else doesn’t like it is both unfair and discriminatory.
Simply, the law should prohibit sex and marriage between two people if one of the parties has a child in common with the other party’s parent or if one of the parties is cohabiting with the other party’s parent. Such a law would have covered the Allen-Previn situation.
What a load of bullshit… removing people’s rights is NEVER the answer.
The law should also prohibit sex and marriage between siblings, broadly understood. Statutes often prohibit relationships between half-blood siblings, but they sometimes leave step- and adopted- siblings unregulated. Today hundreds of thousands of children live with a half-sibling or an adopted-sibling. In addition, children who are unrelated by blood, marriage, or adoption often live together because their parents cohabit.
Relationships do not need to be regulated, that is down to the people involved. I personally find such restrictions abhorrent because it is denying people their fundamental rights to self determination. I condemn the actions proposed your article because of this.
No one knows if new incest laws would deter more predatory behavior.
It wouldn’t make any impact whatsoever, stronger laws against pedophilia would do the trick. All your suggestions would do would be to criminalize and discriminate against consenting adults. Targeting consenting adults DOES NOT DETER PEDOPHILES.
Sex with a child is already against the law, and incest taboos are not always successful.
If we’re talking about sex between consenting adult relatives, then the incest taboo is unnecessary, and as you’ve already stated, sex with children is already illegal.
Nonetheless, without express prohibitions and bright lines, popular culture will validate the Previn-Allen marriage, adults will be left alone to judge the propriety of their own romantic interests, and more children will experience a reality that reflects Dylan’s allegations.
You mentioned earlier in the post that Dylan claims she was sexually abused at SEVEN YEARS OLD. That is pedophilia whichever way you look at it. We can and do all condemn child molestation, it is wrong, it is abhorrent, and it is evil. Children cannot consent to sex. Adults can, and that’s the difference. It is easy to criminalize child molestation without persecuting consenting adults.
We can see Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s relationship differently when we label them as “family.” When two adults have or adopt a child together, their lives become intertwined in a way that has implications for them and their children. With 40 percent of all births occurring outside of marriage, and with half of those occurring to non-cohabiting parents, and with high rates of multiple-partner fertility, society must start revising the law to serve children in these families well.
As I have already explained at length, the laws you suggest would do absolutely ZERO to protect children from sexual predation by perverted adults. The answer to that problem is far tougher laws and penalties against child molestation. What your suggestions would do would be to destroy many loving homes by criminalizing consenting adults. You might have felt differently had you have felt attracted to somebody who was attached to your family in some way. Your suggestion is NOT a valid answer to a complex and pervasive problem, it misses the target by a wide margin and to you it doesn’t seem to matter who gets hit by this absurdity. Please, for the love of God THINK before you write anything else this stupid.