Mommy Dearest

So, a mother marries her own daughter. What else is new?

By Ron Kozar

Dateline:  Comanche County, Oklahoma.  In 2014, Patricia Spann, then 42, met up with her long-lost daughter Misty, 21.  They “hit it off,” says Patricia, and became (cough!) lovers.  In March 2016, after same-sex marriage came along, Patricia and Misty tied the knot, with Patricia giving a different last name to hide their kinship from the registrar.  The honeymoon ended last month when a court annulled the marriage after a welfare worker told on them.  Incest being a crime in Oklahoma and practically every other state, Misty was sentenced to ten months.  Patricia, awaiting a January trial, was heard to mumble something about thinking it was legal because her name isn’t on Misty’s birth certificate.

There’s more.  In 2008, the selfsame Patricia had married her adult son.  Fifteen months later, the courts annulled that marriage, at the son’s request.  Word is that there’s a third child, another son, who has managed to resist his mom’s wiles.

FWIW, though she’s their mother, Patricia did not raise her children.  They were removed from her custody at an early age (we can’t imagine why) and raised by their grandmother.  And Heaven knows what may have been done to Patricia in her own childhood to give her such a prodigious sexual appetite for her own kin.

Whatever prompted their affection for each other, Patricia and Misty Spann now find themselves at the epicenter of another battle in the Culture Wars.

On the one side of that battle are those, wanting incest laws to remain on the books, who rub their eyes in amazement at what seems to them the surreal, Oedipal madness of it all.  They can say I told you so; when many of the same people opposed same-sex marriage, they warned us that it would put us on a slippery slope, that in no time people would be agitating to let parents marry their own kids, and now here we are.  Portraying incest as just another morally indifferent choice on the big buffet of life, they argue, moves the boundaries of normality perilously close to our most vulnerable citizens, children, in their most vulnerable place, at home.

On the other side are libertarians, libertines, and love-is-love folks who say of these and other incestuous pairs that it ain’t no one’s business but their’n.  Whether or not science has confirmed or debunked the supposition that incest results in defective hatchlings, that concern doesn’t apply to adult same-sex practitioners of incest.  Patricia and Misty, they rightly observe, were consenting adults who hadn’t harmed a soul and certainly didn’t procreat any new ones in the process when the Sex Police hauled them off to the hoosegow.

To some, such debates are creepy.  To others, they’re just fun.

Ron Kozar is a lawyer in Dayton. Reach him at RonKozar@DaytonCityPaper.com.


Same-sex incest: illegal or just taboo?

By Tim Walker

In our society today, there exists “hot button” words—terms of discourse that elicit a knee-jerk reaction, that send our emotions lurching into overdrive and inspire an almost visceral response from those who hear them, regardless of the ideas or legality behind what is being expressed. Abortion is one of these words. Rape is another. Genocide, perhaps. Racism.

Incest is surely one of those words. Any discussion on the subject of incest stirs ire, and when people are emotional it makes it impossible to discuss subjects on a dispassionate level. In this modern world, the idea that two consenting adult human beings who are somehow related, either by blood or marriage, might be physically and romantically attracted to each other is, on the surface, abhorrent to most people and therefore taboo. The very thought is disgusting, they say. And yet it happens—and much more frequently than you might think—and sometimes the two consenting adults are of the same sex.

The rest of the civilized world laughs at American culture, which embraces violence while eschewing nudity and sex—superficially, of course, because behind closed doors the entire Puritanical bunch of us is obsessed with people humping. Consenting adults should be able to sleep with other consenting adults without having to worry about the government snooping around under their sheets. Why this desire to punish or imprison same-sex couples who enter into incestuous relationships in our country? Ditto polyamory. It all seems misguided at best. Same-sex relationships cannot produce children, therefore there is no genetic danger to be found. So why the laws, why the taboo, why all the shock and outrage?

In Oklahoma a few weeks ago, 26-year-old Misty Spann pled guilty to incest and was given a 10-year suspended sentence by the court. Her mother, 44-year-old Patricia Spann, had lost custody of her three children when she was younger, and the children were subsequently raised by grandparents. Misty and her mother were reunited in 2014 and began an incestuous relationship, then married in March 2016. The mother claims that she thought the union was legal, as her name no longer appears on her daughter’s birth certificate. Under Oklahoma law, however, marrying a close relative is defined as incest, whether the relationship is sexual or not, and the marriage was annulled in October at Misty Spann’s request. Authorities had uncovered their relationship during a child welfare investigation. [Patricia Spann, interestingly, had also married her adult son in 2008. He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest” as the reason, according to Oklahoma authorities.]

Yes, this sort of thing happens, between adults (bear in mind we’re not discussing anyone under the age of consent here. This is NOT about pedophilia or molestation, which are illegal in every state, and rightly so). In the late 1980s Barbara Gonyo, the founder of a support group for adopted children who recently reconnected with their biological relatives, coined the term “Genetic Sexual Attraction” to describe the intense romantic and sexual feelings that often occur in a large percentage of these reunions. Some experts estimate that these feelings occur in nearly 50 percent of cases where estranged relatives are reunited as adults. GSA’s discoverer had herself become attracted to the son she’d adopted out when she met him 26 years later—her feelings were not reciprocated, however. Research suggests that relatives who fail to form the family bonds which create a natural taboo around sexual bonding are said to be at risk of interpreting intense familiarity as sexual attraction.

The reasons behind laws outlawing incestuous relationships are many and varied, but all are ultimately outdated and doomed to fail in future courts. There has been a steady progression of civil rights in the United States, and our culture is moving towards a day when all consenting adults will have the right to share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any other consenting adults. But we’re not there yet. In 1967, Loving vs. Virginia famously struck down bans on heterosexual interracial marriages. More recently, in 2003, Lawrence vs. Texas struck down laws against sodomy and gay sex, and in 2015 the freedom for gay couples to marry finally became legal nationwide. Cases regarding polyamory are currently winding their way through the courts.

I believe that the taboo on same-sex incestuous relationships is rooted in outdated thinking and, perhaps, a bit of homophobia. There is no reason why two consenting adults of the same sex, related either by marriage or by blood, should be forbidden to marry or engage in a romantic relationship. There is no danger of genetically compromised offspring—the couples are of the same sex. The only danger unions like this pose is the danger to our outdated attitudes when it comes to love and sex in these United States.

Tim Walker, 52, is a writer, DJ, and chili cook. He lives with his wife and their two children in Northridge, and you can read more of his work at StretchYourBrains.com. Reach him at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com.


File this under: you’ve got to be kidding me!!

By David H. Landon

I agreed to participate in this week’s Debate Forum under the condition that my 89 year old mother was not allowed to receive a copy of this weeks’ Dayton City Paper. This week’s topic is simply too weird for the sensibilities of my “Greatest-Generation” mother. The fact that a mother and daughter could come to the conclusion that they wanted to conduct themselves in an incestuous relationship would be hard enough for her to comprehend, but for that mother/daughter couple to then believe it is within the norms of our society to marry one another … well that’s a whole new level of level of anti-social behavior to which I refuse to subject her.

The question for this weeks’ debate topic is: “Should incest be changed when same-sex relationships are involved?” Honestly, how can it be anything else but a crime as it crosses a line which no decent and humane society should be willing to tolerate? It is presently a crime and must remain so. Criminal laws exist to deter abhorrent behavior. The threat of a criminal record and being locked away from society it meant to act as behavior modification. The fact that the incest is occurring within a same-sex relationship is irrelevant.

The issue has arisen upon the arrest and conviction of Patricia Spann, a 42 year old mother, and her 21 year old daughter Misty by an Oklahoma court after a welfare worker uncovered the truth about their 2016 same-sex marriage between this mother and daughter. While no one is nominating her as a candidate for mother of the year, some argue that the 10 year sentence was too harsh. They believe that since the couple is of the same sex, no dire consequences such as a pregnancy could have resulted. We are discussing the issue today because some are taking up the argument that incest between consenting adults should no longer be a crime and that same-sex incest should get a special pass.

Incest is a topic that has been recently popularized by that bastion of morality, Hollywood. A popular and Emmy-winning television series, Game of Thrones, has paraded the incestuous relationship of two of the lead characters, Cersei Lannister and Jamie Lannister who are brother and sister, as a central theme to the storyline. They have at least two children together which they attempt to keep a secret. As the series begins we find Cersei married to the King of Seven Kingdoms, Robert Baratheon, while she clandestinely carries on with her brother. In an opening scene Cersei and Jamie are discovered in the act by a young boy who is pushed off a tower to conceal their shame. So Hollywood while it glamourizes the concept of incest, the topic of incest between a brother and sister is depicted as behavior needing to be hidden from even the wild society of the Seven Kingdoms.

Not everything between consenting individuals is allowed in our society nor should it be. There is recognized an age-of-consent which varies slightly from state to state but is there to protect young and emotionally immature children from being preyed upon by those who are older. We consider anyone who violates the laws regarding the age-of-consent as a predator. An example of this would be laws which make sexual relationships between teachers and students a crime, even when the parties consent. It seems that there is a weekly news report of a teacher being charged under these laws.

Incest, even when between consenting same-sex adults such as the case in Oklahoma, takes us to a place beyond the requirement of the age of majority. Incest is recognized by society as an unnatural relationship no matter the age of the participants.

There are those who believe there should be no prohibitions when it comes to consensual relationships. One such group is the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) This organization is a pedophile and pederasty advocacy organization operating in the United States. Its goal is to abolish age-of-consent laws which criminalize adult sexual involvement with minors. NAMBLA also campaigns for the release of men who have been jailed for sexual contacts with minors that did not involve coercion. Although less active than it was 20 years ago before police infiltrated their membership and arrested key advocates, this organization still exists and has a webpage promoting its agenda.  I bring this up because there are always groups who will always attempt to push the envelope of what society finds palatable.

There are too many examples of the weird to cover in this column. One guy in Florida has attempted to marry his computer. There is a report of a woman who married herself, which did simplify the job of the ushers. Arguably even weirder than the man who married his pillow, this just in. According to the Chronicle, an Australian man has married his dog. Joseph Guiso wed Honey, a 5-year-old Labrador, in Toowoomba. Thirty friends and family members attended, and listened to vows (presumably only delivered by Guiso) including, “You’re my best friend and you make every part of my day better.”

So yes my friends, let’s keep incest on the books as a crime, even between consenting morons of the same-sex. Otherwise, that’s a slippery slope we start down.

David H. Landon is the former Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee. He can be reached at DaveLandon@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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