Emory Larkin

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Leonardo da Vinci, William the Conqueror, Alexander Hamilton, Jon Snow. The common denominator between these seemingly random individuals is that they are all known for being “bastard children.” Everyone who followed the popular television series, Game of Thrones, knows Jon Snow was erroneously recognized as the bastard son of his “father,” Ned Stark. Actually, “Snow” was the show’s universal last name for all bastard children. Likewise, anyone who has seen Hamilton: An American Musical knows Alexander Hamilton was a bastard son who was able to defy the odds and become a founding father of the United States. Bastard children are routinely thought of and portrayed in both history and literature as an “underdog” who had to rise above their misfortunate and disdainful status of illegitimacy. ...

This Comment argues the unconstitutionality of Georgia’s laws concerning unmarried biological fathers’ rights to their children could be successfully challenged in the near future, specifically in relation to the unmarried biological father’s inability to object to the adoption of his newborn child based on his biological connection to his child alone.

Part II of the comment summarizes the historical importance of marriage in the United States and how marriage has shaped the rights of parents to their children. Part III examines relevant Supreme Court of the United States precedent regarding unmarried biological fathers’ rights that have provided a baseline for states to develop their laws. The current Supreme Court precedent is easily contrasted with the corresponding Supreme Court dissents of Part IV that take a more liberal approach to unmarried fathers’ rights. Part VI analyzes Georgia’s current statutes and case law surrounding unmarried biological fathers’ rights to their children, specifically in relation to newborn adoption. Finally, Part VII suggests that Georgia’s laws surrounding unmarried biological fathers’ rights to their newborn children are unconstitutional, and if the United States Supreme Court were to analyze unmarried biological fathers’ rights again in today’s time, it is probable that unmarried biological fathers would receive stronger constitutional protection.

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