256 N.E.2d 814 (Ill. 1970), 42489, In re Stanley

Docket Nº:42489.
Citation:256 N.E.2d 814, 45 Ill.2d 132
Party Name:In re Peter STANLEY, Jr., et al. The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Peter STANLEY, Sr., Appellant.
Case Date:March 24, 1970
Court:Supreme Court of Illinois
 
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Page 814

256 N.E.2d 814 (Ill. 1970)

45 Ill.2d 132

In re Peter STANLEY, Jr., et al.

The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Appellee,

v.

Peter STANLEY, Sr., Appellant.

No. 42489.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

March 24, 1970.

[45 Ill.2d 133] Patrick T. Murphy, Chicago, for appellant.

Edward V. Hanrahan, State's Atty., Chicago (Daniel P. Coman, Chicago, Chief of the Civil Division, and Thomas E. Brannigan and James A. Rooney, Asst. State's Attys., of counsel), for appellee.

Page 815

UNDERWOOD, Chief Justice.

Upon a finding that their natural mother was deceased, two illegitimate children were adjudged by the circuit court of Cook County to be dependent, and were placed in the custody of a married couple appointed as guardians by the court. The children's natural father, Peter Stanley, Sr., has appealed the judgment directly to this court, arguing that the statutory provisions (Ill.Rev.Stat.1967, ch. 37, pars. 702--5 and 701--14; ch. 106 3/4, par. 62) deny to an 'unwed father' all rights to control and custody of his illegitimate children and as such constitute a denial of equal protection of the law.

The children were determined to be dependent pursuant to the following provision of the Juvenile Court Act: '(1) Those who are dependent include any minor under 18 years of age (a) who is without a parent, guardian or legal custodian; * * *.' (Ill.Rev.Stat.1967, ch. 37, par. 702--5.) The father of an illegitimate child, unlike the mother, is excluded from the definition of 'parent' in section 1--14 of the Act: "Parents' means the father and mother of a legitimate child, or the survivor of them, or the natural [45 Ill.2d 134] mother of an illegitimate child, and includes any adoptive parent. It does not include a parent whose rights in respect of the minor have been terminated in any manner provided by law.' (Ill.Rev.Stat.1967, ch. 37, par 701--14.) Stanley urges in the first instance that an unconstitutional distinction inheres in the favorable classification of unwed mothers as parents, as opposed to the exclusion of unwed fathers from that classification.

The distinction between the class of mothers and the class of fathers is rationally related to the purposes of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill.Rev.Stat.1967, ch. 37, par. 701--2), however, and thus it is not constitutionally mandated that Stanley be accorded the rights which accrue to the class of natural mothers of...

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