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Mother Arrested for Incest After Marrying Two of Her Children

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(Via Giphy)

An Oklahoma mother was arrested this week after police discovered that she had allegedly married her own daughter. Before any of the homophobic, anti-equal marriage brigade get all excited because they think that they can now say that legal same-sex marriage opened the door to incestuous marriage, equal marriage did nothing of the sort, because the mother in question had done exactly this thing before when she married her own son a few years ago.

According to the Associated Press, 43-year-old Patricia Spann and her daughter, 25-year-old Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, were arrested in Oklahoma after it came out that they had gotten legally married earlier this year. They apparently knew they were mother and daughter, but Patricia Spann had lost custody of her children when they were small, and the kids were adopted by a grandmother. (It is not clear if they were adopted by a maternal or paternal grandmother.)

Two years ago, Patricia was reunited with Misty Velvet Dawn, and the two “hit it off,” Patricia said in an affidavit. From there, somehow, they decided to get married. Patricia apparently told investigators that she thought the marriage was legal since her name was no longer on Misty Velvet Dawn’s birth certificate, since the kids were adopted by their grandmother.

As we all know, ignorance of the law is not a defense for breaking it. And Patricia Spann should really have known better, because this is not new ground for her. Court records show that she legally married her son, Jody, back in 2008. He reportedly had the marriage annulled in 2010 on the grounds that she was his biological mother. There surely must be a complicated, sad, and disturbing story in that relationship, but Jody has not spoken to reporters about the situation.

It is not clear if either of these relationships was sexual, but in Oklahoma it is illegal for parents to marry their children, and Patricia and Misty Velvet Dawn have been charged with incest. It seems wrong to charge Misty Velvet Dawn with the crime, though, because she’s the daughter. Yes, at 25 years old she is an adult, but there are degrees of culpability and influence at play here, and Patricia Spann is the parent. People are complicated and relationships are weird, but at any and every point at which an incestuous relationship could possibly take root between a parent and a child, it is the parent’s responsibility to stop that dead in its tracks. It doesn’t matter if the offspring is an adult. Or if the offspring is particularly attractive. Or even if the parent is just a biological parent who was not present for the offspring’s childhood and just met and “hit it off” as an adult. The parent is older, and if there is even the slightest hint that an incestuous relationship could be on the table, it is the job of the parent to make damn sure that doesn’t happen.