Legal Fatherhood

All right. Conveniently, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn crowded simple adultery out of the sexual morality news, we’re back in familiar territory judging a famous married guy for having sex with another woman. Now the news is that Arnold Schwarzenegger, long married to Maria Shriver, got a household staffer pregnant years ago.

I saw today where Andrew Sullivan was making a big deal about the child’s birth certificate listing the woman’s then-husband as the father, rather than Schwarzenegger. A faked birth certificate, Andrew called it. What I always thought, though, is that being married to a woman when she gives birth makes you the legal father, biological parentage notwithstanding. Also, as a practical matter, no one’s routinely doing paternity tests on newborns, so doesn’t the birth certificate pretty much have to list whoever the mother says is the father?

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