Nameless Persons: Legal Discrimination against Non-Marital Children in the United States


This study examines the legal discrimination suffered in the United States by children born out of wedlock. The authors analyze the Supreme Court's equal protection birth status decisions from 1968 to 1992 and, in a case-by-case analysis, trace the development of the Court's rulings, examine the pattern of equal protection tests utilized, and evaluate the consistency of the Court's position. In addition, the work examines the related discrimination suffered by the families of non-marital children, especially single parents and alternative family units, and concludes that it is impossible to gain full equality for children born out of wedlock unless equality is also gained for their family unit. Toward these ends, the authors suggest a feminist jurisprudence as a methodology for addressing the underlying issue at the crux of birth status distinctions.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1994


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