17 Dev. Mental Health L. 1 (1997)

handle is hein.journals/dvmnhlt17 and id is 1 raw text is: Developments in
Mental Health Law
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy - The University of Virginia
Volume 17, Numbers 1 & 2                        January - December 1997
Marriage Laws and People with Mental
Retardation: A Continuing History of
Second Class Treatment
by Brooke Pietrzak
Q:    What does your marriage mean to you?
A:    Well, we're both on the same level, I helps him and he helps me.
A:    I wanted to settle down. I wanted to prove that I could maintain a home
and also rear children. I didn't see why I couldn't just because I had been an in-
patient.
A:    I'd probably be lonely without a man.
A:    I think Ern's my best friend, though he's more than that to me, more than
a best friend.'
Although the four individuals who responded to the interviewer's
question value marriage and demonstrate an understanding of the
responsibilities that come with it, each would be prohibited from marrying in
thirty-three states because she is a person with mental retardation. Furthermore,
in eleven of the seventeen remaining states, she would still face the possibility
that her marriage would be dissolved
because of her incompetence or
incapacity.                        Also in this issue:
Over the past few decades,
there have been significant changes in  Federal Courts .................... 4
society's perception of disability as  Virginia Courts .................. 11
Congress and state legislatures have  Other State Courts ............... 18
actively encouraged the              Privacy Act 1997 ................. 23
normalization of people with       Book Reviews ................... 26
* Brook Pietrzak, JD was a 1997 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.

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