Where is the Obamas’ marriage certificate?

Why he can’t produce an Original marriage certificate either.

Easter is a classic time for weddings, and why not. I’m married, again (so far so very good). Some of you are married. Barack and Michelle Obama claim they were married:

on October 3, 1992 by Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois.

This isn’t proof, or even evidence. Consider these well-known facts:

  • The black family has disintegrated. Single mothers cohabit with a shifting cast of male drifters and criminals, financing their unplanned children from welfare. Barack Obama isn’t quite like that himself, but he was a community organiser among them, an advocate for these people. He must have absorbed their un-American values, if he didn’t share them already, as an East-Coast Harvard liberal elitist.
  • Reverend Wright: ’nuff said! The Rev. “God damn America” – would such a man bother with legal formalities?
  • President Obama supports gay so-called marriage [Update: in spite of unconvincing denials by librulls, see comments]. This shows that he has no commitment to real traditional American marriage, “as long as we both shall love” as the Bible says, somewhere.

Americans should demand that Barack and Michelle Obama produce their marriage certificate. Not a “certified copy”.

We want to see the original certificate: you know, the one with proper certificatey calligraphy and a seal and rolled up and tied with red ribbon: the one they give you at the time and you swear you won’t lose. Like the one Donald Trump released:

I bet you that the Obamas will refuse to produce a proper certificate, They will try and palm off on us a mere copy, printed out and stamped by some indifferent and probably corrupt official of Cook County, Illinois. Cook County! They’d issue one for Al Capone’s dog.

Now I can only ask this because I can show you mine and Lu’s.

This is a photograph of our page in the current marriage register of the Gibraltar Registry Office. It doesn’t have the signatures; the photo was taken before the ceremony, but I can supply five photos of me, Lu, our witnesses, and the registrar signing it afterwards.

Now that’s an original certificate: a page in a register that does not belong to me and Lu but to the state.

I will never see it again, and nor will you. The registers are kept in a secure room in the Registry Office. To have another look, we would have to ambush the harmless registrar soon on his unsuspecting way to marry another couple in a hotel and force him a gun- or knife-point to show us the book. As soon as the register is full, it will stay in the strongroom and we’d have to hire a team of bank robbers to break in.

The Registry Office naturally does not advertise its security arrangements. Since land is scarce in Gibraltar town, they may find it easier to keep their archives in the 50 miles of tunnels dug by British military engineers inside the Rock. These were carefully designed to resist attack by French navies, Spanish armies, Nazi paratroopers and in some cases Soviet atom bombs. Any vault inside would be out of reach of civilian talent; we’d have to hire ex-Spetsnaz or French Foreign Legion mercenaries. And even then success is far from assured: the local military are not some weekend militia but a a small regiment of serious professional soldiers, the British Army’s experts and training cadre for tunnel fighting. Doesn’t seem worth it, really.

In Britain, there is no private access to any register of births, marriages or deaths since the church registers were replaced by a civilian system in 1837. I mean this: you can ask for a copy of your great-great grandma’s certificate from 1842, and they publish indices to help, but the original? Nada. For all anybody outside knows, the registers may have been eaten by mice in 1871 or burnt in the Blitz in 1941 or chopped into cat litter in a Thatcherite cost-cutting drive in 1981. You can ask to see official papers about Lloyd George’s mistresses or the founding of MI6, but not the registers. Cook County? Well, they lost the early records in the fire of 1871. The County Clerk’s website and genealogical request form give no indication you can see any of the registers after that.

This close-fistedness over the registers is extreme, but entirely consistent with their original purpose. They started out in effect as Stasi files. The system of compulsory registration of baptisms, marriages and funerals in every parish church was invented by Cardinal Cisneros, primate of Spain, in 1497. Thomas Cromwell, the Protestant-leaning minister of Henry VIII, brought it into England in 1538. Cromwell’s registers had to kept in a box with two keys; a fine of 3 shillings and 3 pence could be levied for each failure to register – a month’s wages for a labourer.

What these lovable characters were interested in was Bad Thinking. Bad Thinking was a threat to state security, and it had to be stopped, quickly or, it may be, slowly. The Bad Thinking might come from Lutherans, or Papists, or crypto-Jews, or Anabaptists – everybody had it in for Anabaptists. One of their Errors was to deny the efficacy of the sacraments and rites of the proper established church; so they would often fail to bring a child for baptism say. A compulsory register killed two birds with one stone. It warned the authorities of outbreaks of Bad Thinking and helped identify Bad Thinkers to assist the authorities with their enquiries. To the rest of the population, it provided a steady reminder of the importance attached by the state to sticking to Good Thinking.

Providing copies of entries to individuals for their private purposes is a later and accidental benefit. There have never been pretty ribbons.

Happy Easter, whatever your beliefs or civil status.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

64 thoughts on “Where is the Obamas’ marriage certificate?”

  1. For whatever it might be worth, I’d like to note the following.

    My brother, my sister and I all have Certificates of Live Birth issued by the Territory of Hawaii (yes, Territory) Health Department. My sons have Certificates of Live Birth issued by State of Kansas and the State of New Mexico. The term Certificate of Live Birth dates back that far in Hawaii, and probably way before then.

    Having worked in an office attached to a State’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, I can tell you all the following are true. The term “Certificate of Live Birth” is almost universal in the United States: it distinguishes from a Certificate of Still Birth, which serves as both “Birth Certificate” and “Death Certificate.” Not requiring a parent (usually the mother) to sign two Certificates is an epsilon measure of kindness to parents who’ve suffered a devastating loss.

    Finally, the original certificates are not (and have never been) open to public inspection. HIPAA locked them down even tighter than they were locked down previously by defining them as medical records. Locking them down in that way is reasonable, because there is all sorts of personal medical information on that so-called long form. The information contained on it is of interest to researchers, but only in the aggregate (do you really want to know what Barack Obama’s five-minute APGAR score was? I don’t.)

  2. I will support Brett’s argument that the President should display his long-form birth certificate, as soon as *any other person born in Hawaii around the time of Obama, or since, displays his.*

    I mean, seriously. If Obama is just blowing smoke when he says it’s not possible to get his long form birth certificate, then it should be easy for a Hawaiian birther to get one. It’s been like three years since this whole kerfluffle started- that’s plenty of time for someone to disprove Obama’s contention. And yet, nobody has.

    Brett, I’ll give you another whole month. Find a Hawaiian long-form birth certificate of *anyone* from 1955 or later, or shut the hell up.

  3. @ MCD

    I actually have two Certificates of Live Birth for myself. One is the copy my parents got after I was born, the other is a 2009 certificate I ordered after the Birther kerfuffle began. My 2009 Certificate looks almost exactly like the one Obama made public. The only difference: the names and dates and birth location are different (I was born in Queen’s Hospital, Obama was born at Kapiolani).

    Oh, and my birth was announced in the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser (both of the Honolulu papers) about 2 weeks after I was born. Apparently the conspiracy to delay birth announcements extends back to the territorial days…

  4. @ James Wimberley

    paul: What Photoshop job?

    I certainly took Paul’s comment as a joke, that obviously your “marriage license” is a forgery, that by logical extension any and all putatively official documents are forgeries.

  5. @Dennis: “My 2009 Certificate looks almost exactly like the one Obama made public.”

    Breaking News! Dennis is a Kenyan Muslim Islamo-fascist-commie-terrorist, and quite possibly also a shadow President of the United States. Someone call Donald Trump!

  6. @ MCD

    D***, I revealed a deeply buried Masonic Rosicrucian Trilateral Commission conspiracy. Some people are simply too clever.

  7. Yup. This also proves, in case you didn’t notice, that it actually WAS possible to release the blasted birth certificate, despite all the claims to the contrary. Everybody who was defending Obama, and attacking the ‘birthers’, on that basis, have just been proven to be patsies.

  8. From the WH’s Dan Pfeiffer: ‘The President directed his counsel to review the legal authority for seeking access to the long form certificate and to request on that basis that the Hawaii State Department of Health make an exception to release a copy of his long form birth certificate … they granted that exception in part because of the tremendous volume of requests they had been getting.’

    So, the lesson: if you tell your lies long and loud enough, eventually you can goad the President into pulling rank on a state Department of Health.

    Contra Brett’s attempt at baiting-and-switching the conversation to vindicate himself, the question all along was never whether it was literally possible for Hawaii to produce the long form. That would be a stupid thing to argue about. Of course it was and is possible literally for state employees to retrieve and display a physical original long-form birth certificate, so long as it still exists, which the state said all along it did.

    The question, rather, was whether it should be necessary for a room full of not-batshit-insane grown-ups to see said document for them to believe Obama is a citizen, and whether it should be necessary for the President to ask Hawaii to make an exception to its rules to produce it. The answers to those questions is still ‘no’ and ‘no f*cking way’, respectively.

  9. Brett,
    1) Today’s events do not resolve the problems you were raising throughout this thread (problems that in any case were literally not susceptible to resolution)
    2) The question, as Maurice notes, was not whether the excavation of this form was physically possible – it was whether it was necessary. Obama released documentation years ago that was – if you believe the standard practice of the state of Hawai’i, as the “full faith and credit” clause demands that you do – absolutely sufficient to demonstrate his citizenship-by-birth. It was literally inconceivable that publishing the “long-form” birth certificate could add any information relevant to the alleged question of his birthright citizenship; at most, it could add trivia such as typos and odd phraseology. If Hawai’i’s records could be forged, so could the “long-form” certificate; so could anything.
    3) There was never the slightest rational reason to doubt Obama’s birthplace. No evidence has ever been found to contradict it, and every theory of how it would not have been Honolulu was completely absurd: an impossible financial burden for the travel, serious health-care issues in the travel and the birthplace, time constraints, the various records generated by international travel – heck, by all travel to and from Hawai’i, the complete and total lack of any reason it would be desirable to travel halfway around the world to give birth in a poor country, etcetera. There has never been the slightest reason to contrive this ridiculous controversy, other than the President’s unusual name and dusky hue.

  10. “the question all along was never whether it was literally possible for Hawaii to produce the long form.”

    Of course it wasn’t. One question was whether it was *legally* possible for them to produce it. As demonstrated, the answer to that question was “yes”, it simply required Obama to ask for it. The idea that Obama couldn’t produce the birth certificate even if he wanted to, (as has been frequently asserted by Obama’s defenders) was nonsense from the start.

    The other question is to what extent American citizens are entitled to proof that the President meets the qualifications for his office. Under the theory that Americans aren’t entitled to a day in court if a constitutional violation equally effects everybody, most courts have said “no”. As I understand it, one court has recently decided otherwise, and a hearing was scheduled on the matter in a week or two. Perhaps this release was intended to moot that case?

  11. for an excellent framing of the issues and the questions one need only look here–http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh042811.shtml#permalink

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