In some cultures children that are born 'out of wedlock' carry that stigma with them for the rest of their lives, simply because their parents were not married when they were born.
In other cultures couples fall in love, live together and have children, and later on they get married. Are those children illegitimate?
All children come into this world because they have planned to do so, like us. They choose their parents and they choose their paths in this dimension. I believe that they also choose the experience of 'being illegitimate', probably because they have to deal with feelings of inadequacy and rejection.
Why are the children 'illegitimate'? Because their parents were not married when they were born.
Marriage should be a celebration of two souls joining together in love, and finding fulfillment in that love. For many people marriage is also about raising children in a loving environment.
Does that mean that marriage has to be a ceremony with a legal contract? No. A wedding is any celebration of two souls joining in love. The legal contract was added because of the rules of society.
Without a legal contract a mother cannot claim what is due to her children when people decide to end a relationship. Without a legal contract, a father does not have the right of access to his children. What a strange world we created for ourselves! Of course the church likes the idea of a legal contract between people, and so this legality was integrated into the traditions and ceremonies of the church.
I understand that the church can play a role in helping couples to understand the contract between themselves – that is the love contract. However, I am afraid I find it difficult to understand how church leaders who chose to be celibate and childless could think that they are in a position to explain and regulate the relationship between couples, when they personally rejected that type of relationship in the first place.
My own experience of being counseled by a man of the cloth about marriage was his attempt to give me a huge injection of fear and the threat of rejection from society, when I was emotionally in tatters. Fortunately I was immune to this treatment. I am also sure there are also people that gain much benefit in such situations, even though it did not work for me.
A marriage contract, like any other contract, can reach a logical end. When that happens, there is a divorce. When people get divorced, they reach the end of their love contract. That is in most instances also the end of the legal contract between them.
In cultures where there is a stigma attached to divorce, there is a strong fear base. Those cultures can be quite cruel and will often see people living in misery because they can no longer be their true selves in a relationship that has changed. People would rather have that misery than have any questions about the institution of marriage as a binding contract, even if it destroys both parties.
In this context of messed up adults who create fear and blindly follow the rules that are imposed on them, children happen to come into this world to parents who are not caught up in the bureaucracy of marriage. The children are then expected to take on the same heritage of fear and rejection when they do not toe the cultural and religious line.
Those children take an entire lifetime to fight that heritage. And the more they fight their heritage, the more that heritage rules their lives, because fighting something means you put more and more energy into exactly what you do not want, and you make it real.
I am not saying that it is all right to have many babies from one or more relationships. We all need to control ourselves and our destinies. If our destiny is to be a parent to many children, then so be it, as long as we take responsibility for each one of those children and raise them in love.
Can we really look at a new-born baby, an innocent child, and reject that baby outright because the parents were not married? Hardly. Then how do we justify doing it when that same child is older and can understand the rejection, but cannot understand the reason for it?
We justify it by having our own warped understanding of love. We do not open ourselves up to the beauty of unconditional love.
Every single child that comes to this planet is a legitimate child, because it is part of God's plan. And when that child grows up, it becomes a legitimate adult. Whenever we question the legitimacy of any person on the basis of our own bias, we need to look inside, identify the fear that we project and eliminate that fear. When we accept everyone on this planet as God's creature, we will have more love for ourselves and the world will be a better place.