Doug Hutchison, the 51-year-old Hollywood actor whose film and TV credits include The Green Mile, Lost and 24, apparently betrothed 16-year-old aspiring country star Courtney Alexis Stodden at a Las Vegas ceremony last month, and their wedding photo has been splashed on news sites all over the world wide web.
Frankly, I'm among the many cynics populating the comment threads to this story who are incredulous about the bride's minor status and the marriage itself, and dismiss it as a publicity stunt akin to the balloon boy. Indeed, why release such a story unless the aim is publicity? At a time when celebrity is its own goal which can be achieved without underlying merit, this pair may even outdo Lady Gaga for becoming famous by offering nothing more than calculated and feigned outrageousness. I don't want to see President Obama's birth certificate; rather, I want to see the bride's birth certificate and the purported happy couple's marriage certificate. The pair may have pulled off the media hoax of 2011.
However, assuming it's all true, how on God's green earth can a 16-year-old girl -- someone not even qualified to vote and just old enough to drive -- marry a 51-one-year-old man? In fact, most states allow child marriages with parental consent where the youngster is 16 or 17, and many states allow child marriages with judicial consent even where the youngster is under 16. I thought child brides were something that existed only in tribal villages across the Middle East, and yet in America a judicial imprimatur is available to approve them.
And yet a pair of sweet old men who have been together for 61 years are denied the right to marry over fears by others that they will somehow devalue the institution.