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"Outcry After French Court Rules on Virginity":

A reader points to this AP article:

The bride said she was a virgin. When her new husband discovered that was a lie, he went to court to annul the marriage — and a French judge agreed.

The ruling ending the Muslim couple's union has stunned France and raised concerns the country's much-cherished secular values are losing ground to religious traditions from its fast-growing immigrant communities....

In its ruling, the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite.

But in treating the case as a breach of contract, the ruling was decried by critics who said it undermined decades of progress in women's rights. Marriage, they said, was reduced to the status of a commercial transaction in which women could be discarded by husbands claiming to have discovered hidden defects in them.

The court decision "is a real fatwa against the emancipation and liberty of women. We are returning to the past," said Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, the daughter of immigrants from Muslim North Africa, using the Arabic term for a religious decree....

In its judgment, the tribunal said the 2006 marriage had been ended based on "an error in the essential qualities" of the bride, "who had presented herself as single and chaste." ...

Article 180 of the Civil Code states that when a couple enters into a marriage, if the "essential qualities" of a spouse are misrepresented, then "the other spouse can seek the nullity of the marriage." Past examples of marriages that were annulled include a husband found to be impotent and a wife who was a prostitute, according to attorney Xavier Labbee....

[The man's lawyer] said both the man and the woman "understand that annulling the marriage is preferable to divorce because it wipes the slate clean (of) what you want to forget, but divorce wipes away nothing."

Indeed, the court ruling states that the woman "acquiesced" to the demand for an annulment "based on a lie concerning her virginity." ...

Here's my very quick thought: In principle, it seems to me that a spouse should be free to divorce the other spouse when the marriage was based on a lie. I think it's silly to care about whether one's bride was a virgin, but people are entitled to care about qualities that I think are irrelevant, as well as the indubitably relevant quality of truthfulness. Given this, it seems to me not very important whether this is called a divorce or an annulment, especially given that as I understand it French law generally allows no-fault divorce, at least when there's mutual consent.

Now I would be troubled if the law saw lack of virginity as a quality that is "essential" but other things as qualities that aren't "essential." That would be an endorsement by the legal system of the unsound view that virginity is extraordinarily important in a wife. I would also be troubled if the law encourages disputes about exactly what was said by one spouse to the other, since I suspect this would lead to lots of lying and not much truth-finding.

But if the couple agrees about the facts, and agrees that, to quote the AP's paraphrase of the court ruling, "in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite," then allowing the annulment seems to me fine. In fact, it's better for the court to focus on what was essential to the parties rather than to select which qualities are "objectively" essential and which aren't objectively essential. I'm a big believer in decisionmaking using objective standards in lots of situations — but two people's decision about what's important to them about a spouse doesn't strike me as a situation that calls for such objective standards. And, I stress again, if the parties could have gotten divorced in any event, why the strong objection to letting them get an annulment instead?

Now I understand that there is a lot of insistence on virginity in many Muslim families (and some non-Muslim ones, though my sense is that in France this insistence is likely much less common among the non-Muslim population). As I said before, I think this is a bad basis for choosing a spouse, and I suspect that a cultural acceptance of this basis leads to all sorts of emotional pain. On top of that, my guess is that the virginity rule is definitely not applied in a sex-neutral way, which makes it even more improper in my view.

But, as I said, people are entitled to choose their spouses based on any reason at all, and to my knowledge French law allows them to agree to divorce based on any reason at all (again, at least if both agree). Saying that they may also annul the marriage based on any misrepresentation that they saw as material strikes me as no different: It's an accommodation of people's choices about whom to have a tremendously important relationship with, and we should generally accommodate those choices even when we think they are partly unwise — I say partly because while the insistence on virginity strikes me as unsound, the concern about the lie strikes me as much more proper — or reinforce unsound community attitudes.

At the same time, I should note that this is just a general principles judgment, coupled with the limited information about French law and the decision given in this story. It may well be that there are important legal details that I'm missing that would indeed justify the outcry.

UPDATE: Bruce Adelstein at Three Jews, Four Opinions discusses a Jewish Law approach to law and virginity.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. "French Court Reverses Virgin Annulment":
  2. "Outcry After French Court Rules on Virginity":
theobromophile (www):
Not to go crazy feminist on an otherwise excellent analysis, but let me add in some perspective:
I say partly because while the insistence on virginity strikes me as unsound, the concern about the lie strikes me as much more proper

Why did she lie, and why was she not a virgin? If she lied because she was afraid of disgracing her family (or being the victim of an honour killing), then it's hardly fair to apply otherwise applicable strictures to her.

Second, you're assuming that it's a lie. Did she not bleed on the first night? (That's what I got from the article.) Women who are physically active (such as avid horseback riders or gymnasts) will often break down their hymens. Some hymens are sufficiently flexible so as to not tear on the first coitus. Either way, it's not uncommon for virgins to not bleed... which turns this into an issue of biology and not truthfulness.
6.5.2008 12:03am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Theobromophile: I agree that if the woman was in fear of her life, that would excuse the lie. But even if the husband's continued desire to annul the marriage was therefore silly, unfair, or worse, it still seems to me that if the parties agree that the wife's virginity was of the essence, they should be free to annul the marriage. They're certainly free to divorce; I don't see why they shouldn't be likewise free to annul it.

As to my assumption that it's a lie, that stems from the AP story: "the court concluded the woman had misrepresented herself as a virgin"; "the court ruling states that the woman 'acquiesced' to the demand for an annulment 'based on a lie concerning her virginity.'" Maybe the court misunderstood the woman's position, or maybe she was pressured into lying about whether there was a lie, or maybe she "acquiesced" without agreeing that there was a lie and the court erroneously concluded that she misrepresented matters, or maybe the AP story got it wrong. But I have no specific reason to doubt the story's accuracy on this point.
6.5.2008 12:10am
Hippolytus (mail):
unsound view that virginity is extraordinarily important in a wife

And by what standard is it unsound? What ethics? Utilitarianism? Well I think utilitarianism is unsound and most certainly not true in any sense.

Tell me Eugene, what's the propositional truth value of the statement "Virginity in a prospective wife is unsound"? What premises does that by necessity follow from that makes it true? It's nothing more than a kind of moral aestheticism, completely subjective.

In fact, it's better for the court to focus on what was essential to the parties rather than to select which qualities are "objectively" essential and which aren't objectively essential.

Unless the law enumerated domains of what could be grounds for annulment and which could not, then of course they're going to have to settle on what was essential to the parties involved rather than any such appeal to an "objective essential standard", because there is no such thing.

As I said before, I think this is a bad basis for choosing a spouse,

And that's all you said, but didn't give your grounds. See the my first comment.

and I suspect that a cultural acceptance of this basis leads to all sorts of emotional pain.

And what are the grounds for being suspect of this?

Here, I'll take my own baseless conjecture and say that those who insist on virginity before marriage have a much lower divorce rate and subsequently less emotional pain, resulting in a net gain of happiness. Would that be a sufficient utilitarian standard?
6.5.2008 12:37am
theobromophile (www):
As to your last paragraph: I guess I'm struggling to figure out how the husband would have "discovered" that his wife was no longer a virgin. Either she would have told him (unlikely, given the state of the marriage), or she did not bleed on her wedding night. She's not appealing the ruling; either she wasn't a virgin (possible, I'll admit), or she is the type to avoid controversy.

Anyway, found this:
In April, a court in Lille had annulled the marriage on the demand of the husband. A Muslim like his now ex-wife, he had decided to end the marriage the morning after the wedding, which took place on July 6, 2006, when he discovered on the wedding night that, contrary to what she had told him, his wife was not a virgin

From here.

I've tried to dig up reliable statistics about the percentage of women who bleed; one source, albeit based on sexual assault of minors, pegs it at slightly less than 50%.
6.5.2008 12:37am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Theobromophile: I agree, based on what little I've heard, that absence of bleeding is weak evidence of not being a virgin. My guess -- pure hypothesis -- based on the source you point to is that the husband thought it was some evidence, confronted the wife about it, and she admitted it. In any event, by the time of the court hearing, based on the AP story, it seemed like she was admitting the matter.

Indeed, if the court concluded on its own, over the woman's denials, that she wasn't a virgin because she didn't bleed during intercourse on her wedding night, that would be unsound (again, based on my very limited knowledge of the statistics on this). But I see nothing in the AP story that suggests such reasoning on the court's part.
6.5.2008 12:46am
Elliot Reed (mail):
At least she no longer has to deal with having an asshole for a husband.
6.5.2008 12:52am
Roger Schlafly (www):
I am guessing that there are several billion people on this planet who regard virginity as a good quality for a bride to have. Saying that it is "unsound" is the unusual view.
6.5.2008 1:35am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"Tell me Eugene, what's the propositional truth value of the statement "Virginity in a prospective wife is unsound"? What premises does that by necessity follow from that makes it true? "

In any important matter, why would one prize inexperience?
6.5.2008 1:46am
BruceM (mail) (www):
I pretty much agree with Eugene's assessment. I don't think the government should be involved in marriage at all, and it should be a matter of contract between the spouses.

The only thing that bothers me here is that, assuming virginity was a material condition, and nonvirginity would amount to a material misrepresentation and thus breach the agreement, I think the husband has to be able to make a showing that the wife was not, in fact, a virgin. I'm assuming he stuck his [EV: pointless vulgarity edited out; folks, let's try to keep things substantive here] and because her hymen was not intact, or because she didn't bleed, he declared her a non-virgin. These are not good indicators of virginity. If she broke down crying and admitted that she was not, in fat, a virgin, then so be it. But if she denied it, there is simply insufficient evidence to show she misrepresented her virgin status. At the end of the day, though, the state shouldn't force two people to be married to one another, especially when they don't have children. That's why I think marriage should be a matter of contract. It can be renewable on regular periods of time, and terminable at will with, say, 30 days notice.

I'd also be somewhat troubled if the reason she was not a virgin was because she'd been gang-raped by a pack of rabid muslims. Seems kinda unfair to hold that against her. But then again, she is and remains in the Muslim religion which is from where such social mores, values, and beliefs arise. Religion is not like race - it can be changed. As long as she remains in, and a believer of, a religion that would deem her unworthy of love and marriage because she has been raped (by other followers of the same religion, no less), I simply can't muster up too much sorrow for her situation.
6.5.2008 1:49am
Snarky:
I think EV's logic that allowing annulment is no big deal because they could always divorce anyway can just as easily be turned back against him.

If divorce is essentially equivalent to annulment, what is the harm in denying annulment?

Basically, I think that particular argument is a wash.

I disagree with the court. Though I do not feel passionately about the topic. I think that EV's perspective, as is often the case with libertarians, is to contract-oriented. It ignores the social consequences of adopting one policy over another.

I think the concern that unmarried women who are not virgins will feel "defective" if lack of virginity is found to be grounds for an annulment is a real social concern, not one to be dismissed as casually as EV is doing. I tend to think that social realities like this are quite important. (Even though they reflect human irrationality; in an ideal world, women should not care so much about what others think. But the social reality is that it can be difficult to be a female non-virgin in a society that extols and elevates female virginity.)

I also think that subject of women's virginity should be kept out of court. What if the woman and the man disagree about whether she is a virgin? Should this sensitive and embarrassing topic really be subject to examination and proof in court proceedings, all so an annulment rather than a divorce can obtained?

I think a much better solution is to make the couple go through a non-fault divorce if they want to separate and not share their dirty laundry in official proceedings financed by taxpayers.
6.5.2008 2:24am
Snarky:

I pretty much agree with Eugene's assessment. I don't think the government should be involved in marriage at all, and it should be a matter of contract between the spouses.


Actually, EV's view actually creates a much more intrusive role for government in the institution of marriage. With a no-fault divorce, there is no need for official court proceedings to establish the "truth" regarding virginity.

If you really wanted to minimize government intrusiveness, I think the more sound position would be to have no-fault divorce as the only option in cases like this.
6.5.2008 2:27am
Snarky:

I think the husband has to be able to make a showing that the wife was not, in fact, a virgin.


You may think that this "requirement" to make a showing is a burden. But has it occurred to you that maybe making a showing is exactly what the husband wants, in order to humiliate his "impure" wife in official proceedings?

Even if the wife "wins" the proceedings, she loses.
6.5.2008 2:29am
Snarky:

At the end of the day, though, the state shouldn't force two people to be married to one another, especially when they don't have children. That's why I think marriage should be a matter of contract. It can be renewable on regular periods of time, and terminable at will with, say, 30 days notice.


I don't think anyone is arguing that anyone should force the couple to stay married. The question is whether or not the subject of virginity belongs in court, or whether they should be required to obtain a no-fault divorce.


Religion is not like race - it can be changed.


Religion is more or less changeable, depending on the person and the social context. It is not necessarily psychologically possible to change from a particular religion to another when you were raised with a particular belief system, and your family, friends, and everyone you care about shares a particular belief.

The problem you have is that you think everyone else is unencumbered simply because you are unencumbered in this area. That is definitely a very self-centered point of view. (And I do not mean to criticize you in saying that -- we all tend towards having some views that are self-centered.)
6.5.2008 2:35am
A. Zarkov (mail):
In the US if one spouse misrepresents something that goes to the core of the marriage relationship, then the other party can get an annulment. So what goes to the core of the marriage relationship? Generally things pertaining to sex and children. If you misrepresent your willingness to have children, or your fertility, you risk annulment. If (say) a husband represented himself as rich, but it turned out he was really of modest means, that lie does not provide grounds for an annulment. Strange as it might seem, in the US money does not go to the core of the marriage relationship.

Does virginity go to the core of the marriage relationship? For many people it does. What US marriage law says is another matter.
6.5.2008 2:55am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Snarky: the question of virginity is just a fact issue regarding the annulment. It's not like there's a common law virginity requirement; this is all about the terms and conditions agreed to by the two people getting married. It stems from their religion, nothing more.

If you really wanted to minimize government intrusiveness, I think the more sound position would be to have no-fault divorce as the only option in cases like this.

Why? Because it requires no substantial evidence (just a bare claim that there are irreconcilable differences) to prove up in court? I don't see the need to prove up in court the existence/nonexistence of a fact that both parties mutually agreed would/would not exist as being a huge government intrusion.

It is not necessarily psychologically possible to change from a particular religion to another when you were raised with a particular belief system, and your family, friends, and everyone you care about shares a particular belief.

I agree for the most part, that's why I believe telling children about religion, teaching them about it, taking them to church, or even telling them religious stories should be absolutely prohibited until the child turns 18 years old. Kids are simply too susceptible to crap like that, they are not mature enough to made a decision for themselves as to whether it's true, whether they want to believe it, or whether another religion better suits their beliefs. Forcing religion upon children is a crime against humanity. Of course religious people know a child's mind is ripe for religious indoctrination, and if they can plant the seeds of fear, guilt, shame, ignorance, and irrationality into people at a young age, they'll more than likely have a follower for life. That's why religious jackfucks fight so hard over getting religion into public schools. They want your kids to either be fully indoctrinated, or feel like an outcast for not participating. "Well they don't have to pray to Jesus before the football game, they can stand on the sidelines and have the rest of their class scowl at them."

It should be a capital offense to so much as mention religion to a child younger than 18. It's worse than murder. It's the total degradation of the human mind, it causes irreversible harm, a lifetime bound by stupidity, and the victims never even have a chance. It's so unfair it makes me want to cry. Of course, religious people know that if they had to wait until children were 18, they'd laugh off religion the way an 18 year old laughs off the tooth fairy. 90% of people would be atheists within a single generation. It would be fantastic. Truly fantastic. Religions would not only be morally bankrupt, they'd be financially bankrupt, too.

You may think that this "requirement" to make a showing is a burden. But has it occurred to you that maybe making a showing is exactly what the husband wants, in order to humiliate his "impure" wife in official proceedings?

Well, if she admits that she's not a virgin, no showing would be necessary. No matter what, the annulment is going to be a public fact - along with the reason for it. Unless a woman has given birth, I don't see how one can really show she is not a virgin (and even then it could have been artificial insemination). "Virgin" is an imaginary status, nothing more. It's like saying "greentoes" are people who have never eaten a green M&M, and then trying to prove that someone is or is not a greentoe. Unless there are witnesses who can testify to the consumption of a green M&M or sexual intercourse, or videotapes evidencing the same, there's no way to prove up such a fact.

I also think that subject of women's virginity should be kept out of court.

Woah, they both agreed that her virginity was important to their religion and a precondition of her suitability for marriage. This is simply a breach of warranty issue. There are many types of warranties. This is a warranty of suitability for marriage. Their religion says that virginity is an essential element of that warranty. He indicated he would not waive her virginity and she warranted that she was a virgin (and thus suitable for marriage). She did not have to be a muslim (or maybe she did... see my comment above) and she did not have to marry a Muslim (ditto) and she did not have to marry a muslim who required her to be a virgin. She consented to the virgin requirement and warranted the same. So she made it an issue that is proper in court.

Nobody is saying that French courts are now going to routinely, sua sponte, inquire as to the virginity of the parties in annulment cases.
6.5.2008 3:12am
BruceM (mail) (www):
By the way, if anyone has any doubts as to how religious indoctrination of children is a crime against humanity on par with genocide, go see the movie "Jesus Camp."
6.5.2008 3:16am
Snarky:

Well, if she admits that she's not a virgin, no showing would be necessary. No matter what, the annulment is going to be a public fact - along with the reason for it.


In my view, that someone was or was not a virgin before marriage should not become a public fact, unless voluntarily disclosed or this fact absolutely necessary for some very important inquiry.

The difference between annulment versus no-fault divorce does not reach that level, in my mind.


This is simply a breach of warranty issue.


Whatever "this" is, it is much more than "simply" a breach of warranty issue. There are a lot more religious and cultural issues that the parties would think are more important than the mere failure to provide a "product" with attributes that are required.

I actually think that by characterizing it as a warranty issue, you are making the argument for those who are opposed to wasting taxpayer dollars on these sorts of proceedings.

You have reduced the woman to a "product" that has a "warranty" and her lack of virginity is a "defect."

Maybe that is the view of some, but I do not think we should be using scarce public resources for this sort of inquiry.

A no-fault divorce would be appropriate.


She consented to the virgin requirement and warranted the same.


I do not think that all areas of life should be reduced to contractual relations. Marriage and human relationships go way beyond contract. What is acceptable in business may not be acceptable in personal relations. I do not put as much weight on the "consent card" as you do. Especially in light of the fact that people do tend to be encumbered in the real world.


So she made it an issue that is proper in court.


I do not see what interest French citizens have in subsidizing the husbands desire to humiliate his wife in public proceedings. That does not seem like a good use of scarce resources to me.


I agree for the most part, that's why I believe telling children about religion, teaching them about it, taking them to church, or even telling them religious stories should be absolutely prohibited until the child turns 18 years old.


I do not agree with your rather radical views regarding religion. However, even if I did, we still live in the real world, not this utopia that you describe. We may wish that people were unencumbered, but that does not describe reality.
6.5.2008 6:17am
Wayne Jarvis:

By the way, if anyone has any doubts as to how religious indoctrination of children is a crime against humanity on par with genocide, go see the movie "Jesus Camp."


Holy hyperbole Batman! Do you understand what the word "genocide" means? Are you telling me that Hebrew school is the equivalent of the Holocaust? Who is the extremist here?
6.5.2008 7:11am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Snarky, however debasing and insulting and even inhuman this case may be, the wife brought it on herself. She knew her religion valued virginity and required it of a would-be wife, she knew her intended husband felt this was of the upmost importantce to him and that her virginity was a prerequisite to marriage.

She didn't have to marry him. She didn't have to marry anyone who insisted upon virginity. I don't require virginity, you probably don't either, and I'll bet the vast, vast, vast majority of people living in France do not. France is supposed to be the nation of love... virginity to be married would be very inconvenient. While I certainly concede it is hard to change religions (which is why it's so unfair for religions to be forced upon young people), it's not like race or skin color - it can be changed. Or do what most people do when religious dogma is inconvenient - simply say god didn't really mean that and any translation of the religious text that says it is either mistranslated or taken out of context. It's the Universal Dogmatic Disclaimer that makes modern religion possible. As such, she brought this on herself and either knew or should have known that she'd end up in court facing either an annulment or divorce based on her lack of virginity.

I do not see what interest French citizens have in subsidizing the husbands desire to humiliate his wife in public proceedings. That does not seem like a good use of scarce resources to me.

Well sure, just because society as a whole doesn't have an interest in the facts or outcome of a lawsuit doesn't mean the parties don't have an interest in it. Do you have an interest in the fact that my friend is being sued by this company because he allegedly shipped them the wrong flavor of Pop-Tarts... supposed to be blueberry, but was raspberry? Hell no. Nobody cares except the two parties involved in the lawsuit. And while you and I don't care about her virginity, it's the most important issue in these people's lives right now. Even cases now pending before the US Supreme Court have facts that society at large has absolutely no interest in hearing.

I do not think that all areas of life should be reduced to contractual relations. Marriage and human relationships go way beyond contract. What is acceptable in business may not be acceptable in personal relations. I do not put as much weight on the "consent card" as you do. Especially in light of the fact that people do tend to be encumbered in the real world.

By "encumbered" you mean religious, right? Nice to see one other person out there sees religious traditions and requirements as encumbrances. While I do feel a little (and only a little) sorry for people who have been brainwashed into a particular religion (along with all of its encumbering baggage) since the moment they hatched, by the time they are an adult they are mature enough to decide for themselves whether their religion benefits them or harms them. There are very few places in the world where someone will be criminally punished for apostacy (I hear Iran lists it as a capital offense, though). France certainly does not. Either get rid of your religion, or accept the consequences of continuing to live with it. Apostacy aside, how can such a decision not be consensual? It may be a tough decision, but so is deciding to consent to a waiver of jury trial and accept a plea bargain. I see this whole issue as one of consent, so if that's where you and I ultimately differ, then so be it. I can certainly respect your opinion as it's based on the notion that religious brainwashing since the time of childhood is extremely hard to overcome.

I do not agree with your rather radical views regarding religion. However, even if I did, we still live in the real world, not this utopia that you describe. We may wish that people were unencumbered, but that does not describe reality.

I know... I was just sayin' how nice it would be, and how horrible it is.
6.5.2008 7:28am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Wayne: The mass brainwashing of young children to be religious zealots, never even giving them a chance to think or decide for themselves, is morally equivalent to genocide. I'm talking moral equivalency here, not lives lost as a result. Genocide causes more immediate and direct loss of human life. But they are morally equivalent. If "hebrew school" involves more than learning a foreign language, then sending children under 18 years old to it should be punishable by death. I stand by my comment. Give the poor children a chance at congnitive freedom. We're talking about slavery of the mind.
6.5.2008 7:33am
ReaderY:

By the way, if anyone has any doubts as to how religious indoctrination of children is a crime against humanity on par with genocide, go see the movie "Jesus Camp."


Boy am I glad that we have a First Amendment that protects freedom of religion and an interpretation that regards the parent-child relationship as a component of the First Amendment.
6.5.2008 8:07am
ReaderY:
Bruce,

Would you teach your children English?

Why would you brainwash them into a particular way of communicating, and deny them their opportunity to choose for themselves how to speak?
6.5.2008 8:09am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Folks: In my experience, if you write too many comments in a short time -- especially several in a row -- people will focus less on your points, rather than more. The best bet is generally to make each comment as concise as possible, avoid multiple comments, and let the conversation develop a little.
6.5.2008 8:17am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
You just entered "Ithaqua Territory," BruceM... There's no lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk.
6.5.2008 8:49am
Wayne Jarvis:

Wayne: The mass brainwashing of young children to be religious zealots, never even giving them a chance to think or decide for themselves, is morally equivalent to genocide. I'm talking moral equivalency here, not lives lost as a result. Genocide causes more immediate and direct loss of human life. But they are morally equivalent. If "hebrew school" involves more than learning a foreign language, then sending children under 18 years old to it should be punishable by death. I stand by my comment. Give the poor children a chance at congnitive freedom. We're talking about slavery of the mind.



This is such an excellent point. Everything about this is so well-reasoned that there is just so little to add. I mean, you saw it in a movie.

Heaven Schenectady knows that those children abused and brainwashed by being forced into pews almost never leave the church when go away to college.
6.5.2008 8:54am
PLR:
If we all waited to find a virgin, hardly any of us would be married unless we seriously lowered our standards.

Or unless we joined that group of Mormons in Texas who grow their own virgins.
6.5.2008 8:55am
FantasiaWHT:

That would be an endorsement by the legal system of the unsound view that virginity is extraordinarily important in a wife.


Unsound? Really? How about this - if people only married virgins, or even better, people only had sex with people who were virgins (and continued with only that person), STD's would all but disappear. That's aside from the emotional and spiritual value of having a mate who has only given herself or himself to you.

Unless you meant to say that it was unsound to value virginity in a wife but not in a husband. That I would agree with.

That out of the way, hooray for the French courts! It's nice to see governments actually treating marriage like a contract, an agreement with actual consequences. Arguably, a fact pattern like this constitutes rape by false pretenses - convincing somebody to have sex with you by claiming to be a virgin, when you know they hold virginity as a prerequisite.
6.5.2008 9:19am
Hoosier:
As if France has virgins.

What was this guy thinking?
6.5.2008 9:28am
Banshee (mail):
"She didn't have to marry him."

You don't know that. In fact, when Muslim marries Muslim and the family's arranged everything beforehand (and yeah, it's usually within the same extended family), there's often not a lot of room for individual consent. A little fillip of consent vs a huge lot of pressure, social and economic — don't forget the dowry. Oh, yeah, that's fair.

"She's not contesting it."

She's probably afraid to appear in court, lest she be honor-killed. (Which could still happen, of course.)

"It's part of their religion."

Actually, Islam has no problem with men marrying non-virgins. Its sick, twisted culture has a problem with it, unless the non-virgin is a widow. Especially one with money that might otherwise go outside the family. Then the widow is married to another family member tout suite.

Look, it's all very well to talk about contracts and so forth. But the point is that, nobody here has demonstrated that French law about annulments goes with the religious law interpretation of what's at the core of a marriage, much less with personal unwritten agreements or understandings. Traditionally, civil French marriage has included very extensive written contracts between families, dealing with property and dowry and settlements; but I believe violation of such contracts has been dealt with by lawsuits, not annulments.

I call this decision merde de taureau.
6.5.2008 9:37am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Eugene, how does your position on this issue square with your position on courts in child custody cases setting orders regarding, say, the religious upbringing of a child after a divorce?

As I recall (and I confess I have not gone back to double check, so I am prepared to be corrected if my memory is faulty), you took the position that even where the parents had made an agreement to raise the child in a particular religion, after a divorce, it would be inappropriate for the court to enforce such an agreement, or to consider placing the child with the parent who was that religion on the grounds that he or she was most likely to raise the child in the agreed-upon religion. Again if I recall correctly, your position was that for the court to enforce such provisions would violate First Amendment speech and establishment provisions. Why wouldn't the same considerations call for the courts to not consider religious requirements in ruling on the nullity, or not, of a marriage?
6.5.2008 9:41am
U.Va. 2L:
BruceM,

Of course, you presume a point you have not established: that all religions are false. For if a particular set of religious beliefs is true, would it not be a "crime against humanity" to make it a "capital offense" to inform minors of the truth--to let them grow up believing falsely that there is no God. If, in fact, there is a God to whom all people are morally accountable for their actions, would it not be a great evil to hide that truth from people until they turned 18?

Until you establish the validity of your claim that belief in God is a false belief with negative consequences, you have no basis for your claim that religious beliefs should be withheld from minors.
6.5.2008 9:42am
BruceM (mail) (www):
Would you teach your children English?

Of course, why wouldn't I? Are you trying to turn "Hebrew School" into a double entendre? I was very clear. I said, if Hebrew School is simply teaching a foreign language, it's okay. If it's teaching religion, it's not.

Wayne, what do you mean I "saw it in a movie"?

This whole thread is an example of why teaching religion to children is bad. There's little doubt that this Islamic husband and wife were taught Islam at a very young age by their Islamic parents. That has resulted in the boy growing up to believe (rather, to "Know") that he is entitled to marry a virgin, that nothing else is acceptable, and that he can't love anyone who is not a virgin. It has resulted in the girl growing up to believe (rather, to "Know") that she must marry a devout Muslim who would only accept a virgin, that she must tell her prospective husband she is a virgin, and that she must be and remain a virgin if she wants to be loved by another person. The culmulative effect is that the boy decided to marry the girl (to be clear, I'm not saying they are from the same family), who decided for whatever reason to say she is a virgin, the boy stuck his dick into her and decided, based on uneducated junk science, that she was lying about her virginity, and decided he could not love her and must annul the marriage.

This is a crime against humanity. It's no different than female genital mutilation (also the result of religion) or straight out genocide.
6.5.2008 9:45am
Connie:
What if . . . she was not a virgin because she'd had premarital sex with her husband? Should that matter in the court proceedings?
6.5.2008 9:53am
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I demur on the question of a subjective standard for "essential qualities" for purposes of annulment. I like a "reasonable in the context" type standard that would temper the subjective stuff with some "is the court willing to do this" aspect.
Best,
Ben
6.5.2008 9:59am
anonthu:
BruceM,

mindless robot of religious bigotry I may be, I am eternally grateful to my parents for perpetuating this "genocide" against me...
6.5.2008 10:09am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Yes, the double standard is problem with this kind of thing, and I'm sure that's what Eugene means. The implicit idea that a woman who's not a virgin is damaged goods, which is objectifying and tends to reduce women to sex objects who exist for the purpose of being some man's property. (Relatedly, see the idea that a guy who gets laid a lot is a stud, while a woman who gets laid a lot is a slut).
Arguably, a fact pattern like this constitutes rape by false pretenses - convincing somebody to have sex with you by claiming to be a virgin, when you know they hold virginity as a prerequisite.
False pretenses typically do not negate consent for the purposes of whether or not something is rape. Claiming that you're richer than you are, or that you love someone when you don't, does not make you a rapist, even if the other person wouldn't have consented otherwise and you know it.

Those of you arguing with BruceM--don't waste your time. I think he's pulling our leg.
6.5.2008 10:10am
Elliot Reed (mail):
Until you establish the validity of your claim that belief in God is a false belief with negative consequences, you have no basis for your claim that religious beliefs should be withheld from minors.
Give it up, U.Va 2L. No point in wasting your time with BruceM. (But I will just observe that a fair number of religions, most notably Buddhism, do not involve belief in a god or gods, so BruceM would need to show that non-theistic religions are pernicious as well.)
6.5.2008 10:14am
U.Va. 2L:
BruceM,

Let us be precise: there's no such thing as "teaching religion to children." Particular religions teach particular things. It is hugely inaccurate to equate them. The teachings of Islam are very different from the teachings of Hinduism, which are very different from the teachings of Christianity, which are very different from the teachings of Judaism, etc.

You can no more equate "religious teaching" than you can equate "atheist teaching." Should we chronicle the evils of avowedly atheistic regimes?
6.5.2008 10:16am
Martin George (www):
6.5.2008 10:27am
pduggie (mail) (www):
"If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then hates her and accuses her of misconduct and brings a bad name upon her, saying, ‘I took this woman, and when I came near her, I did not find in her evidence of virginity,’ then the father of the young woman and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of her virginity to the elders of the city in the gate. And the father of the young woman shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man to marry, and he hates her; and behold, he has accused her of misconduct, saying, “I did not find in your daughter evidence of virginity.” And yet this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.’ And they shall spread the cloak before the elders of the city. Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife. He may not divorce her all his days.

But if the thing is true, that evidence of virginity was not found in the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done an outrageous thing in Israel by whoring in her father's house. So you shall purge the evil from your midst."


Also, didn't Lady Di have to be certified a virgin before she could marry Prince Charles. Seems like its extraordinarily important in some cases
6.5.2008 10:39am
David M. Nieporent (www):
"Tell me Eugene, what's the propositional truth value of the statement "Virginity in a prospective wife is unsound"? What premises does that by necessity follow from that makes it true? "

In any important matter, why would one prize inexperience?
An athletic coach might well prize inexperience, finding it easier to teach someone who has never been taught something rather than someone who has to unlearn bad habits first. Not saying this is necessary applicable to the context; just answering your question in the abstract. In the specific context we're discussing, inexperience makes it safer; no prior sex means no STDs.

In a social context, one might wish to gain experience alongside someone else. Think of exploring Paris with someone else also discovering it for the first time, vs. a frequent visitor (or even native Parisian). Either experience may have its charms; who's to say which is better?
6.5.2008 10:40am
Bob Howland (mail):
I'm not a lawyer but I can't let this thread go on without commenting.

The reason that virginity in a bride is so important in some cultures is that, in these cultures, correctly establishing paternity is also important. A bride who is virgin can't be pregnant at the time of the marriage. These societies tend to have all sorts of other societal customs intended to reduce the likelihood of paternity fraud.

This may seem quaint in "enlightened" western cultures, such as the U.S. where paternity fraud is legal is something like 46 states and where men who get married must be considered suicidal idiots.

"Law is just morality enforced by people with guns."
6.5.2008 11:07am
Mark Butler (mail):
PLR

That's a sloppy use of the term "Mormons". Those folks in Texas are no more Mormons than Lutherans are Catholics.
6.5.2008 11:13am
theobromophile (www):
Thanks for the French opinion. I think we all missed the fact that it was an April Fool's joke. ;) (Kidding, kidding.)

My guess -- pure hypothesis -- based on the source you point to is that the husband thought it was some evidence, confronted the wife about it, and she admitted it. In any event, by the time of the court hearing, based on the AP story, it seemed like she was admitting the matter.

True or not, I would "admit" to the matter to save the public humiliation. In the alternative, it would be preferable from her perspective (after finding out her husband is such a jerk) to get the annulment, which may make it possible for her to remarry.

Still, not very classy to divorce your wife the following morning because she doesn't bleed. IMHO, it turns the "contract" for a wife's virginity into a requirement that she bleed on the wedding night. Unintellectual comment of the day: it's creepy when the law gets involved in things like that.
6.5.2008 11:21am
Martin George (www):
Another morsel of information: the French Government has decided to lodge an appeal against the decision of the Lille court.
6.5.2008 11:47am
JoshL (mail):
I'm just glad to know that BruceM thinks that Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Maimonides, Aquinas, Augustine, Spinoza...well, pretty much every great philosopher and scientist until, say, the late 19th century was a mental slave and that their parents (and in general, themselves) deserved to be put to death due to teaching their children religion. Heck, Pythagoras died in large part due to his religious beliefs (ones that he came up with himself), and may have had one of his followers killed because of them. Yet amazingly enough, most of us don't wish that Pythagoras had never existed.

As for virginity- EV noted that Three Jews, Four Opinions had a post on halacha and virginity. One thing they did not note, however, is that RaMBaM (Maimonedes) ruled that the lack of blood was unacceptable evidence in any case- being a doctor, he noted that this was too common an event, and therefore ruled on the "openness" only.
6.5.2008 11:50am
DeoVindice:


It should be a capital offense to so much as mention religion to a child younger than 18. It's worse than murder. It's the total degradation of the human mind, it causes irreversible harm, a lifetime bound by stupidity, and the victims never even have a chance. It's so unfair it makes me want to cry. Of course, religious people know that if they had to wait until children were 18, they'd laugh off religion the way an 18 year old laughs off the tooth fairy. 90% of people would be atheists within a single generation. It would be fantastic. Truly fantastic. Religions would not only be morally bankrupt, they'd be financially bankrupt, too.


I'd like to see you attempt to implement your maniacal tyranny. It's easy for Bruce Moldovan do suggest such things over the internet, (never mind that they are antithetical to the Constitution), it's entirely another to actually implement such actions.

Mr. Moldovan and his ilk single-handedly prove the reason for the existence of the Second Amendment.
6.5.2008 11:50am
DeoVindice:
Let's turn the BruceM's own words around against him:

"The mass brainwashing of young children to be atheist zealots, never even giving them a chance to think or decide for themselves, is morally equivalent to genocide. I'm talking moral equivalency here, not lives lost as a result. Genocide causes more immediate and direct loss of human life. But they are morally equivalent. If teaching "secular humanism" involves more than learning a foreign language, then sending children under 18 years old to it should be punishable by death. I stand by my comment. Give the poor children a chance at congnitive [sic] freedom. We're talking about slavery of the mind."

How's that sound?
6.5.2008 11:54am
whit:

Yes, the double standard is problem with this kind of thing, and I'm sure that's what Eugene means. The implicit idea that a woman who's not a virgin is damaged goods, which is objectifying and tends to reduce women to sex objects who exist for the purpose of being some man's property. (Relatedly, see the idea that a guy who gets laid a lot is a stud, while a woman who gets laid a lot is a slut).


there is no LEGAL double standard (which is all that matters - legally) unless you can show me that french courts refused to accept the same argument from a woman whose non-virgin husband claimed to be a virgin and it was an essential precondition of their getting married.

there are lots of societal double standards. so what? that's not a legal issue.

it only becomes a legal issue when the govt. treats people differently on account of gender.

so, your post is totally irrelevant to the issue imo. i have seen no evidence that french courts have imposed a double standard. do you have any?
6.5.2008 12:12pm
Bama 1L:
There was some discussion above about how the groom knew and what details of the relationship were.

The 5 June 2008 issue of Le Nouvel Observateur (a French newsmagazine) reports that:

1. The groom was born in Morocco and 30 years old at the time of the wedding. He worked as an engineer in Paris.

2. The bride was born in France and 23. She had studied nursing.

3. The marriage was "arranged" in the sense that the families officially presented the couple, but they actually met at a wedding two years before their own and had been on many chaperoned dates.

4. The bride revealed to the groom on the wedding night, for the first time, that she was sexually experienced. A previous boyfriend she'd dated for four years "one day took her virginity and then abandoned her." ("un jour, a pris sa virginité avant de l'abandonner") This was all prior to her relationship with the groom.

5. The groom was instantly enraged. He walked out. He had his father take the bride back to her family and shortly thereafter commenced annulment proceedings.

Sourcing is not very firm; I can't tell how the reporters got this detail.
6.5.2008 12:12pm
Respondent:
Actually Maimonides, like virtually all other Jewish authorities, allows for a divorce, where:

1)The woman represented herself as a virgin with an intact hymen,

2) Received the "double" pre-nuptial settlement on the understanding that her hymen was intact,

3) The court is conviced by the preponederance of evidence that there was normal intercourse immediately after the marriage,

4) The husband went to court immediately on the morning after the wedding to announce that his wife didn't bleed at all the next day, and

5) the woman doesn't claim to have succumed to any hymenal tearing after engagement, whther through accident or non-consensual intercourse.

A claim of feeling no resistance during intercourse is further restricted, and in any event is only cognizable when the bride is no omore than six moths past the onset of puberty.

The incidents referred to by Adelstein all are cases of situations in which one of the above conditions wasn't really met, and the court dealt with them in various ways as felt appropriate under the circumstances, but other passages in the Talmud which Adelstein fails to cite are clear that a husband's claim of being deceived as to his wife's intact hymen was allowed for under Talmudic law de facto and not just de jure.
6.5.2008 12:18pm
Dr. Scott (mail):
Tradition and law in this area are often asymmetric. This is because nature is asymmetric. A woman can always know that the child she supports is her biological descendant. Until recently, a man could not. You must expect a delay as tradition and law catch up with technology.
6.5.2008 12:25pm
D Palmer (mail):
Many posters here seem to be willfully disregarding the difference between a divorce and an annulment.

The difference may seem like semantics to many (including myself), but for many devout individuals, an annulment is akin to absolution of a sin, it is wiping the slate clean and saying, this never happened.

That said, I'm not sure what rights or obligations are wiped away in a divorce versus an annulment. France being a socialist state may give divorced spouses certain rights that don't apply in the case of an annulment.

It does seem to me that an annulment would be something granted by a religious rather than secular authority. The marriage and subsquent annulment would be a matter of public record just like a divorce, so I'm not sure what the government annulment gets the man. Wouldn't he be more concerned that his local cleric grants the annulment so that in the eyes of his God he was never married as opposed the eyes of the state?
6.5.2008 12:27pm
Toby:
In Muslim marriages in Europe there are so many variables…
- Were they betrothed by parents, perhaps years ago?
- Does getting an annulment enhance of relieve any tendency to that his relatives (or her relatives) subject her to honor killing?
- Is there a substantial dower that is affected by an annulment rather than divorce?
- Perhaps an annulment prevents here relatives coming after *him* for an honor killing.
- Will her parents now disavow her, but not kill her, allowing her at last to move out and live in Paris away from the Muslim district?
Without considering these and many similar questions, many of the strong opinions expressed above are conceits expressed by the comfortable about the antics of the afflicted.

Note: I wrote this and then saw several others had bengun to address the cultural issues, starting with the fine post by Banshee
6.5.2008 12:44pm
vincenzo (mail):
All this heated talk about the criminality of religious teaching to the young, or the existence of God, etc. What utter arrogant ridiculousness. I'd advise BruceM and those of his ilk to adopt a more Rumsfeldian approach to the existence of God, at least in polite company: you know, all that stuff about the "known knowns", "known unknowns" and so forth. It's far more reasonable than the poppycock conclusions being thrown around on this thread.
6.5.2008 12:53pm
Suzy (mail):
How absurd for the law to have any role in deciding this matter. From the description bama posted, it sounds to me like a reasonable assumption that this woman was raped by her boyfriend (he "took" her virginity suddenly after 4 years of celibacy and then abandoned her?). Apparently that mean she's no longer "technically" a virgin, and so has misrepresented her chastity?

Well then, victims of child sexual abuse who have never had consensual sex will have to represent themselves as non-virgins who have been unchaste, while those who have gladly fooled around and done "everything but" (which is a rather popular definition of virginity maintained today, as those of us with kids ought to keep in mind) can truthfully represent themselves as virginal and chaste! I'm so glad the courts can weigh in and clarify this matter of both biological and moral uncertainty. The very idea that the absence of blood on the sheets could "prove" such a matter in a court of law is astounding.

I agree with Prof. Volokh's assessment that the lie is the main issue here. However, this is not the sort of thing that one can reasonably expect a court to determine the truth of, nor should it have to. A no-fault divorce takes care of the situation without any such need to delve into vague and utterly disputed categories.
6.5.2008 1:02pm
PLR:
PLR: That's a sloppy use of the term "Mormons". Those folks in Texas are no more Mormons than Lutherans are Catholics.

I was exploiting the muckrakers' poetic license (perpetual and royalty-free!).
6.5.2008 1:03pm
Bruce A (www):
"Respondent" wrote: The incidents referred to by Adelstein all are cases of situations in which one of the above conditions wasn't really met, and the court dealt with them in various ways as felt appropriate under the circumstances, but other passages in the Talmud which Adelstein fails to cite are clear that a husband's claim of being deceived as to his wife's intact hymen was allowed for under Talmudic law de facto and not just de jure.

My point (on my blog, not here) was much more limited. I was not trying to exhaustively cover Jewish law here. I was noting only that the Gemara rabbis, confronted with a potentially unjust and unreasonable situation, were quick to resort to clever tactics to do justice rather than to neutrally apply a bad law.
6.5.2008 1:07pm
Vic Havens (mail):
PLR, was your statement "If we all waited to find a virgin, hardly any of us would be married unless we seriously lowered our standards." intended to be ironic?

Because, it is exactly wrong. If we all waited, there would be more likelihood of marrying a virgin than there is now.
6.5.2008 1:45pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Among much other nonsense, BruceM writes: "Of course, religious people know that if they had to wait until children were 18, they'd laugh off religion the way an 18 year old laughs off the tooth fairy. 90% of people would be atheists within a single generation."

Though superficially plausible, this seems false. Three examples, just off the top of my head:

1. Madeleine Murray O'Hair's son William is a born-again Christian, and he didn't get it from his mother.

2. I can't prove it now -- too old for the web -- but I seem to recall that Stalin's daughter Svetlana was quite religious, and she was surely brought up just as atheistically as BruceM desires.

3. More recently, in fact just last year, I knew a 17-year-old German exchange student in the U.S. who joined his host family's church and was baptized in April a few weeks before returning to Germany. The fact that he'd been raised mostly in the former East Germany and had never been baptized suggests a strongly secular upbringing. I'm not sure precisely what denomination he joined, but I know (the host family's 6th-grader told me) that it meets in a former movie theater and that the baptism was done by total immersion at a local swimming pool. Would he have successfully resisted the siren call of the immersion pool if he'd been 18 before arriving? I doubt it. He was more mature than many 18-year-olds.

I suspect examples could easily be multiplied. Given the tendency of teenagers to rebel against their parents, strictly atheistic childrearing might conceivably lead to an increase of religious belief in the next generation.
6.5.2008 2:25pm
PLR:
PLR, was your statement "If we all waited to find a virgin, hardly any of us would be married unless we seriously lowered our standards." intended to be ironic?

Because, it is exactly wrong. If we all waited, there would be more likelihood of marrying a virgin than there is now.

If my comment was addressed to men and women equally, I suppose you'd be right. But I was addressing only the men who read the VC and might be more inclined to choose a life partner who has been to a four year college and is physically appealing. There will be some virgins in that universe, but not enough to go around.

I'll freely acknowledge that we should accept some responsibility for that state of affairs.
6.5.2008 2:26pm
Hoosier:
PLR--Don't SAY such things! Even if they are TRUE!

I have a daughter.
6.5.2008 2:28pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
DeoVindice:

So being able to brainwash children with religion is so important to you that'd you shoot people who stood in your way. That's scary.

By the way, I agree that atheism shouldn't be taught to kids until they're 18 years old, either. First of all, atheism is the lack of a belief in god/gods. It doesn't make sense to say you teach the lack of something. But even if there were classes on atheism, they wouldn't make any sense to someone who had not yet been exposed to at least one religion. So don't mischaracterize my position as though I'm saying nothing but atheism should be taught to children.

Additionally, while I've never claimed to be hiding myself and have always told people who I am, intentionally using my full name, in the same breath as saying my opinion is why people should have guns, seems malicious to me. Can you give me a nonthreatening reason you felt compelled to post my full name? Of course not. But you're a Christian so I wouldn't expect anything less than violence, animosity, and retribution (even though you should just forgive me).

U.Va. 2L: by "teaching children religion" I mean indoctrinating them into a particular faith. Saying to a child "this is what our family believes, this is what is true, other people believe differently but they are wrong and will go to hell/not go to heaven" with respect to matters of faith is the essence of such indoctrination.
6.5.2008 3:07pm
whit:

First of all, atheism is the lack of a belief in god/gods


depends

see for example, the distinction between "strong" and "weak" atheism.

iirc, one posits there is no god. you can guess which.

fwiw, in my conversations, i have run into at least as many atheists who claim god does NOT exist, as compared to merely a lack of belief in one.
6.5.2008 3:29pm
Hoosier:
If someone claims not to know if their is a god, isn't that properly called agnosticism? At least since Huxley? What is "weak atheism"? "There is no god. Maybe." (?)

(For the record: I am an agnostic. I just don't know. Nor do I know how I /could/ know.)
6.5.2008 3:41pm
whit:
there are several positions:

1) i don't know whether god exists
2) it is unknowable as to whether god exists
3) there is no god
4) i have no belief in god

1 is definitely agnosticism. 2 is also i would believe. 3 is strong atheism. 4, is either atheism or agnosticism... i've heard both arguments. also called "weak" atheism
6.5.2008 3:44pm
dodik3 (mail):

What is "weak atheism"? "There is no god. Maybe." (?)


Here's my rudimentary definition of weak atheism:
Something that while it may be in the realm of possibility, does not seem to have ANY actual evidence of existing, then I should not spend my life worshiping it and acting out my life according to some rules written by man/men a long time ago (though recently written down is not much better, eg Scientology)

Call me what you will, weak atheist, rationalist, Bright, but disbelief in god/gods does not need a specialized name.

WE as a society do not call disbelief in tooth fairies, anti-faerism, do we?
6.5.2008 3:57pm
whit:
the first part is weak atheism. the second part is your opinion.

weak atheism is a statement of belief. that you "should not spend ..." is an opinion somewhat related to weak atheism, but is not weak atheism.
6.5.2008 4:09pm
Old & Cranky:
1) Girls who use tampons for years before having first intercourse are unlikely to bleed upon first intercourse.

2) I know from events within my own family that it is much more painful for those living in a small town to have a spouse who cheats, a spouse who has had previous partners who are still living in that same small town, or a promiscuous daughter ("the town tramp.") I would imagine that this would be even more true in a small, closed Muslim community that takes inordinate pride in not succumbing to "infidel values." It is harder to "move on with life" when everyone in your community knows too much about your personal life and you CANNOT RELOCATE.

3) The woman in this case SHOULD have told the man ahead of time that she was not a virgin, allowing him to break off the relationship quietly without humiliating either party. To go through with the marriage knowing that the male would not have completed the marriage had he known the truth is dishonest, disgraceful behavior, and indicates a complete lack of character on the part of the woman, which bodes ill for the success of the marriage. The real possibility that the woman allowed this chain of events to occur out of fear of "honor killing" is a severe indictment of Muslim culture.

4) Virgins, of both sexes, have less "baggage" than other people. When virgins marry, they very often form an incredibly powerful social/sexual bond that is almost impossible for the Experienced to attain. People who have waited until marriage to have intercourse are more trusting of the good intentions of their spouses, and less worried about venereal diseases and paternity issues. Because the pre-marital relationship does not include intercourse, it may be easier for the incompatible to recognize their incompatibility BEFORE a marriage occurs. In modern society, far fewer people are virgins when they marry, partly because people get married at later ages. But let's not stoop to scorning those who forego premarital intercourse for their unsophistication.

5) I think that annulments should be granted on a no-fault basis within the first two, or possibly even three years of a marriage if there are no children (and none on the way.) Many people DO find out subsequent to marriage that they have been mislead regarding the number of previous marriages and relationships, huge alimony and child support arrearages, criminal history, etc., and encouraging people who have uncovered fraud to end the marriage before children are involved would be a good thing in the long run. In some cases, whirlwind courtships lead to sudden, ill-advised marriages in which two decent but immature people discover they do not agree on such basics as "who is going to earn money," and "in which country will we reside." Once again, it is in society's interest to give these people a quick, fresh start despite their foolishness.
6.5.2008 4:12pm
Suzy (mail):
Old and Cranky, I agree with many of your points, especially 1, 2, and 4. I see your point in 3, except that I'm inclined to think it would have been unusually difficult for this woman to tell the truth. If she had done so before the marriage, would he have responded ethically by not broadcasting her situation to the rest of the community, thus making her a scorned figure not worthy of marriage? I doubt it, considering his reaction so far.

With respect to 5, I don't know what the annulment does that a no-fault divorce does not. The risk of entering the marriage at all is that you could be deceived, and this can happen in many ways. Why should the state grant an annulment on the grounds that I misrepresented myself as willing to have children, but not on the grounds that I misrepresented myself as willing to hold a job, for example? I just don't think the state has any business being in this particular business. Leave that to religious authorities, and limit the legal aspect of the marriage "contract".
6.5.2008 6:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
Roger: "I am guessing that there are several billion people on this planet who regard virginity as a good quality for a bride to have. Saying that it is "unsound" is the unusual view."

Virginity for both sexes, or just women? Seems that the burden is usually on the woman.

Old and Cranky: " Virgins, of both sexes, have less "baggage" than other people."

On what do you make this determination? Quite the contrary, virginity itself carries quite a bit of baggage, and the baggage is exactly the stuff you say is a virtue.

One need only read Dan Savage, nationally syndicated sex advice columnist. He has said repeatedly that he often gets letters from (usually) women who have been married for several years, and were virgins when they were married. They are climbing the walls because the sex is now so boring and predictable, and not all that good. (Usually because the husband was a virgin as well, and never learned good techniques). So now she is asking Dan how she can experience sex with someone else, just to see how it is. they love their husbands, but they don't want to cheat on them.

Dan says the only way out is either to cheat on your husband or seek couples' therapy to see how their sex life can be improved. Sometimes people's sex lives are improved by 'swinging.' Sometimes not.
6.5.2008 9:38pm
Randy R. (mail):
O&C: "When virgins marry, they very often form an incredibly powerful social/sexual bond that is almost impossible for the Experienced to attain. People who have waited until marriage to have intercourse are more trusting of the good intentions of their spouses, and less worried about venereal diseases and paternity issues. Because the pre-marital relationship does not include intercourse, it may be easier for the incompatible to recognize their incompatibility BEFORE a marriage occurs"

Yes, and Princess Diana was a virgin when she married, and we all know how THAT marriage turned out.

Just because you have a virgin or two entering a marriage is no indication that the marriage will be happier or better than those who are not. I know plenty of couples that where neither was a virgin, and they have lasted a long and happy time.
6.5.2008 9:42pm
Suzy (mail):
I don't think O&C is necessarily saying that experienced people can't have happy marriages or that the ones involving virgins are necessarily happy or better. They have no children, no emotional issues from former marriages or relationships that were similar to a marriage, and are less likely to have an STD. Problems with intercourse or past emotional issues can affect anyone--no reason to think they're more likely with virgins. It's not the number of partners that makes a sexually experienced person better or more comfortable with sex, or else people who had slept around really would be the best lovers. No evidence of this, that I know of.

O&C also makes the important point that when intercourse isn't part of the relationship, it may be easier to focus on other aspects of compatibility that will be important long term. It's pretty easy to be distracted by the sexual aspect of a relationship, especially in the early stages when problems aren't surfacing. I'm less willing to speculate about what kind of bonds different people can form, but surely there's something special about knowing that everything both you and your partner know about sex, you have learned together.
6.6.2008 1:00am
Old & Cranky:
Randy:

Princess Di reportedly had some big issues in her life, starting with an unhappy childhood, but Prince Charles married her KNOWING that he had no intention of giving up Camilla. He was also very jealous of Princess Di's popularity. There marriage was doomed, and not because of Diana's lack of sexual experience. Diana was nothing if not a hard worker, and I really do think she probably gave the marriage everything she had for the first couple of years. When it was clear that Charles wouldn't stop committing adultery, she decided to commit adultery herself, and the old double standard came into play. Frankly, I don't see how anybody in the Royal Family can maintain a normal family life with the whole world watching every move, so I doubt that their experiences should be considered an example for others to follow or not.

I was speaking in generalities -- notice that I used the word "often." No doubt we BOTH know happily married couples of all types. But people who live together before marriage are known to have a higher divorce rate than those who do not, and people with extensive sexual histories prior to marriage are known to have difficulty confining their sexuality to one person subsequent to marriage. I stand by my original generality: People who marry as virgins often DO have a special kind of bond. The downside is that if/when they divorce, they seem to have a lot MORE trouble than other divorced people do in terms of moving on. Once again, these are my observations, and I freely acknowledge that I have seen numerous exceptions.

Suzy:

Both an annulment and a divorce lead to the same practical result. But if the result can be called an annulment, it is often easier for people to move on with their lives. Less of a sense of personal failure, as the marriage is more or less retroactively erased, giving room for a fresh start with a different partner (and perhaps with some wisdom from having made a too-hasty decision the first time around.)
6.6.2008 2:36am
Time to go:
Somehow, I imagine that retard local judge to be Scalia-lookalike.

BTW, click on ads section of any major Pakistani or Indian newspaper website and go to matrimonial. You will see dozens of ads where parents seek bride for their educated doctor son living, where else... in the ole US of A. Such marriages are reality here in the USA, here and now. They simply don't run to court in case of damaged goods.
6.6.2008 8:22am
DeoVindice:
So being able to brainwash children with religion is so important to you that'd you shoot people who stood in your way. That's scary.

No, the free exercise of my religion and the right to raise my children as I see fit is so important to me, that I'd defend myself from tyrannical idiots who would seek to deprive me of a God given right.

By the way, I agree that atheism shouldn't be taught to kids until they're 18 years old, either.

Sure you don't. [/sarcasm]

First of all, atheism is the lack of a belief in god/gods. It doesn't make sense to say you teach the lack of something.But even if there were classes on atheism, they wouldn't make any sense to someone who had not yet been exposed to at least one religion. So don't mischaracterize [sic] my position as though I'm saying nothing but atheism should be taught to children.

You can contend that you don't want atheism/humanism taught to children, but you are lying.

Additionally, while I've never claimed to be hiding myself and have always told people who I am, intentionally using my full name, in the same breath as saying my opinion is why people should have guns, seems malicious to me.

So you are not only a maniacal tyrant, you are paranoid to boot?

Can you give me a nonthreatening reason you felt compelled to post my full name? Of course not.

You post your own name all over the board. Why would you feel threatened by someone else posting your name?

But you're a Christian so I wouldn't expect anything less than violence, animosity, and retribution (even though you should just forgive me).

You have a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity.
6.6.2008 10:30am
AKS (mail):
I realize that I'm a little late in the game here, but I get a little irritated when I read things that presume that virgins are an extinct species. We're actually alive and well, and there are quite a lot of us. Nearly all of my friends, single men and women in their late twenties and early thirties, are, in fact, virgins. I especially resent the presumption that it isn't possible for college-educated women to be virgins, since I am an attorney, and nearly all of my female friends have graduate degrees. Yes, there are still people out there who choose not to engage in premarital sex. A lot of us are Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. Mormons), but I have also known people with other backgrounds who have made the same choice. For those who might suggest that "religious indoctrination" might be in play here, just let me say this: faith is a choice. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand true faith.

Bottom line: just because Hollywood and the media tell you that everyone is having sex doesn't make it true.
6.6.2008 11:15am
theobromophile (www):
AKS,

You're entirely correct. I will note a few things (since someone responded to the "no virgins left" thing):
*Geography matters. A lot. Good luck finding a virgin over the age of 20 in Manhattan - I'm sure they are there, since NYC have everything, but not nearly the numbers you would find somewhere else.
*Men work very, very hard to ensure that there are no virgins left. Not to be too cynical, but I've dated a handful of men who were attracted to me because I'm inexperienced (a "good girl"), then gotten very upset when I've refused to sleep with them. This has happened to my friends as well. They also freely admit that they want girls who haven't slept around, want to marry virgins, etc., but don't want to hold themselves to the same standards.
*Those who wait until age 18 (or later) to have sex are more likely to graduate high school, go to college, and graduate from college. (The Heritage Foundation did a study on that.) From what I've seen, it's the unambitious women who sleep around.
6.6.2008 1:57pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
DeoVindice you're a psychotic ignoramus, and you reinforce every negative opinion I have about religious people in general and Christians in particular. I hope you never have children, the world simply can't handle more of your type of "Christian."

You'll deny being psychotic, but show me one other place where I post my full name on the board. You're clearly seeing hallucinations (or you're just lying for no viable purpose - which means you're a confabulator). And I'm not threatened by the mere posting of my name. Repeatedly posting my full (first and last) name, for no purpose, while saying I should be shot, is a borderline threat. If not, give me another plausible reason why you felt compelled to look up my last name and then post it w/ your gun commment?

I don't care what your response is, though. Much like you say I'm lying when I confirmed that just like religion I would not want atheism to be taught in classes either (if for no other reason than it wouldn't make sense without also knowing what religion is), I won't take you at your word if/when you try to offer up a non-threatening pretext for having posted my name. Christians like yourself are compulsive liars. You lie because you Know it is to spread the Truth of the Word of the Body of the Christ of the Lord and the lies are a means to convey the Truth and since you love Christ and are One with Christ in the Spirit of the Truth, He wants you to lie and He will forgive you regardless of your actions because you have opened your heart up to Him, praise be allah.. err.. Jesus.

Assfuck.
6.7.2008 1:17am
BruceM (mail) (www):
AKS: when I was in college here in Texas (and to a lesser extent law school), I knew a lot of girls who professed to be "virgins" but if you questioned them about it, they would say they have only had intercourse with condoms, or anally, or in the mouth, or they never had an orgasm - thus their virginity remains intact. No joking.

I am not saying there are no virgins, but I'm somewhat skeptical of "proud virgin" claims... a good portion of them are lying or severely confused. Most real virgins would be embarassed, or at least consider it private, and wouldn't be "proud" of it and surely would not advertise the fact.

I love the notion of religiou people not having sex. The longer they put it off, the greater the chances of them never reproducing at all. Less religiou people having kids = less kids to be brainwashed with religion. No matter your religion, God wants you to not have sex until you're married, and then only on your 30th wedding anniversary. I know this because God told me (have faith).
6.7.2008 1:24am
DeoVindice:
DeoVindice you're a psychotic ignoramus, and you reinforce every negative opinion I have about religious people in general and Christians in particular.

You are confusing yourself with me. How sad.

I hope you never have children, the world simply can't handle more of your type of "Christian."

Hate to break it to you, but I already do.

You'll deny being psychotic, but show me one other place where I post my full name on the board. You're clearly seeing hallucinations (or you're just lying for no viable purpose - which means you're a confabulator).

LOL! To begin with, you are posting it right now in this thread. Hover your mouse over the WWW link next to your name.

BUT, I am sure that's not good enough for you. So i'll give you these to chew on as well:

http://volokh.com/posts/1120060528.shtml#5698
http://volokh.com/posts/1120076944.shtml#5760
http://volokh.com/posts/1120174379.shtml#6058

You said you only wanted one. I just gave you three. You've just proven yourself to be as paranoid and ignorant as I thought you were.

And I'm not threatened by the mere posting of my name.

I don't believe you are either, otherwise you wouldn't have posted your name on the board. (Several times I might add.) Instead, you are trying to create an issue because someone called you on your ignorant maniacal rantings.

Repeatedly posting my full (first and last) name, for no purpose, while saying I should be shot, is a borderline threat.

I see that Paranoid Ignorant atheists can't tell the truth, even when confronted with reality. It's really sad to think about. Did I ever say you should be shot? Absolutely not. So you take it upon yourself to fabricate a bold-faced lie to justify your persecution complex? As I said, you are paranoid.

I said that you and people of your ilk are the best justification that their is for the 2nd Amendment.

After all, it was you who was the one suggesting mass genocide of anyone who dared to bring their children up in a way that conflicted with YOUR worldview.

Your the one making mass murder threats bud.

If not, give me another plausible reason why you felt compelled to look up my last name and then post it w/ your gun commment?

Again, I didn't make any "gun comment". I made a true statement about the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment was written to protect the citizens for madmen such as yourself. Madmen who want to enlist the power of government to commit genocide against religious individuals.

You are no better than Adolf Hitler.

BTW: I also didn't have to look up your name. You've had your full name posted in every single post that you made for some time now.

I don't care what your response is, though.

Sure you don't. That's why you responded to me.

Much like you say I'm lying when I confirmed that just like religion I would not want atheism to be taught in classes either (if for no other reason than it wouldn't make sense without also knowing what religion is), I won't take you at your word if/when you try to offer up a non-threatening pretext for having posted my name.

Of course, you have to maintain your victim complex.

Christians like yourself are compulsive liars.

You seem to be confusing yourself with me again.

You lie because you Know it is to spread the Truth of the Word of the Body of the Christ of the Lord and the lies are a means to convey the Truth and since you love Christ and are One with Christ in the Spirit of the Truth, He wants you to lie and He will forgive you regardless of your actions because you have opened your heart up to Him, praise be allah.. err.. Jesus.

Seriously, there is medication available for your condition. You should seek help.

Assfuck.

Why are you degrading yourself so?

I'll tell you what. I'll pray for you. :)
6.8.2008 12:54am
BruceM (mail) (www):
I'm arguing with Pee Wee Herman here... "I know you are but what am I? I know you are but what am I!"

And I clearly referred to posting my last name. Not my first name.
6.8.2008 8:51pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
Oh one more thing:

Your the one making mass murder threats bud.

No I'm saying criminals should be executed. You're a christian, so you must be pro-death penalty... surely you appreciate the difference between execution and murder.

I'm saying certain behavior should be prohibited, regardless of what the punishment should be for violating that proscription. I think it's worthy of execution (as is genocide), but I'd be more than content to settle for a lesser punishment. Frankly I think 20 years in prison is more than enough for 99% of criminal offenses. Teaching children under 18 years of age about religion (or about atheism) likely falls into that 99%... though it's certainly one of the most egregious crimes agaisnt humanity and we routinely execute people for less serious offenses.
6.8.2008 8:59pm
DeoVindice:

And I clearly referred to posting my last name. Not my first name.


Yes. And as I pointed out in the links I posted, you posted your full name, first and last, several times on this board.

Did you even bother to check the links? Did you forget that you joined this site as "Bruce Moldovan"?

So you went lying and accusing others of psychotic behavior, and then you challenged me to show ONE TIME that you posted your name here on the board.

I showed three.

ONE
TWO
THREE

Yes, You changed your username at one point to BruceM, but that doesn't change that you started posting here as Bruce Moldovan. It also doesn't change the fact that for a long time you had www.brucemoldovan.com as your WWW link next to your name.

(Not to mention that brucemoldovan.com still resolves to your livejournal link.)

You asked for ONE example. I gave you three. Now, will be a typical lying atheist, or will you apologize?
6.8.2008 9:07pm