Were Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Really Married?

In my previously published article "Secrets Revealed," I concluded that what President Obama is concealing on his genuine long-form birth certificate (not the digital PDF forgery released to the public) is that his mother signed her maiden name.

That's all, you say?  By today's standards (about 40% of births are out of wedlock; about half for women under 30) an unmarried woman giving birth is unexceptional.  But in 1961, it was still a big deal (about 5% out-of-wedlock births, mostly by minorities) and was a mark of shame, especially if the woman was well-educated.  So if Stanley Ann Dunham signed her maiden name to baby Barack's birth certificate, she did so either unintentionally -- a mental slip -- or deliberately -- she felt her signature should conform to her maiden name as typed on the certificate, or she was not married to Barack Obama the father, or she chose not to acknowledge the marriage.

Thus, the real birth certificate (in my opinion) shows no evidence of this marriage.  Is there any documentary evidence at all of this marriage?  Yes, there is.

First, there is the entry in the Hawaii Department of Health public marriage index (see Figure MM) recording Ann Dunham's two marriages, to Barack Obama and Lolo Soetoro.

Figure MM.  Printout of Hawaii Department of Health Marriage Index, 1960-1965, showing both of Ann Dunham's marriages.  (Photo taken spring 2011 by a citizen-investigator.)

Additionally, we have the 1964 Obama divorce papers (see Figure OD), which refer to the February 2, 1961 marriage (and also verify the identity of mother and father and the date of birth of the future president).

Figure OD.  Decree of divorce (partial), Stanley Ann Dunham (Obama) from Barack Obama.

Also, when Ann registered for night courses at the University of Washington in August 1961, she did so under her married name, as her transcript shows:

Figure WT.  Transcript of grades for Ann (Dunham) Obama, 1961.  (Image courtesy WND.)

An April 1961 internal memo from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (see Figure IN1) notes that the marriage had been reported to University of Hawaii officials, and also takes note of Barack Obama's bigamy.

Figure IN1.  Immigration and Naturalization Service internal memo on Barack Obama, April 1961.

Obama's April 21, 1964 application to extend his stay in the U.S. (see Figure IN2) also refers to the marriage and to their U.S.-citizen son.  (Note that he also identifies their divorce as a "legal separation," no doubt to serve as one more "hook" to stay in the U.S.)

Figure IN2.  Barack Obama's 1964 "Application to Extend Time of Temporary Stay" (in part), showing him as "married - legal separation" with a 2-year-old U.S.-citizen son.

Is there any evidence that the two were not really married?  Yes: there is a talk (campaign appearance) that Michelle Obama gave at the University of Missouri on July 10, 2008, about the difficulties that working mothers face.  She said in part:

And the struggles aren't new to me, not new to anyone in this room, but I want people to understand these struggles certainly aren't new to my husband, Barack.  He understands the struggles.  He understands them because he was raised by strong women.  He is the product of two great women in his life. -- his mother and his grandmother.  Barack saw his mother, who was very young and very single when she had him, and he saw her work hard to complete her education and try to raise he and his sister.  And he saw through her struggle essentially what she tried to teach him, that you can do anything with a little hard work in this country.  But he also saw her struggle to make ends meet, sometimes relying on food stamps.  And the pain, that it effect, that hit her, the pride of ask, having to ask someone else for help.

Did Michelle misspeak, or did she tell the truth?  Or did she address the reality of Ann's situation, which is that she was functionally a single mother?

There is also a May 19, 1962 letter from Barack Obama to Tom Mboya (see Figure ML), which references only his first wife, Kezia (Aoko) Obama, whom he married in January 1957 and never divorced (despite the fable he told to the INS).  In 1959, Obama left Kezia behind while she was three months pregnant with future daughter Auma.  He also left behind a year-old son, Roy, who was born in March 1958.

Figure ML.  Barack Obama's 1962 letter to Tom Mboya (in part), mentioning only his first wife Kezia.  (From the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, via WND.)

Barack Obama also had the advantage of knowing that he was a bigamist and that under U.S. law, the second marriage would not be legal.

Personally, I think the preponderance of evidence shows that Obama's marriage to Ann Dunham was a legal contrivance that suited both their purposes -- Obama's as a means to maintain residency in the U.S. until he completed his studies, and Ann's (and maybe also her parents') to provide legitimacy to the baby's birth.  In no way was this a meaningful marital relationship.

So were they really married?  Yes, they went through the legal steps to become married.  But because Obama the father was already married, the marriage wasn't legal -- and it certainly wasn't functional -- so they weren't really married in the way we understand marriage.

I know that my conclusion -- that Ann likely signed her maiden name to baby Barack's birth certificate because her marriage wasn't a real one, and that that's what's being hidden by the release of the "birth certificate" forgery -- is a huge disappointment to people who think that the president is hiding something much bigger -- like being born in Kenya.  (Understandably, since releasing the digital PDF fake is a pretty big scam to cover up a pretty unimportant detail.)

If you believe that the president was born in Kenya, then you also would have to believe:

1. The real birth certificate that Hawaii has on file for Barack Hussein Obama, II contains within it evidence (or at least suspicion) that Obama was born overseas.

My answer: Get real.  A Hawaiian birth certificate would show that the baby was born in Hawaii, even if he were born on the moon.

2. Ann and Barack the father were a loving couple anticipating their firstborn, and they decided to travel to Kenya so Ann could meet her Kenyan in-laws and extended family.

My answer: Highly unlikely.  Barack Obama arrived in Hawaii in 1959 and never returned to Kenya until he was deported in July 1964, so Ann would have had to travel to Kenya alone.  Pregnant.  And on her parents' dime.  To meet her Kenyan relatives, including first wife Kezia, whom Barack never divorced, and Kezia's two young children by Barack.  Fat chance.

3. Ann gave birth in Kenya, then flew back to Hawaii in the first week of August 1961.

My answer: Since Ann subsequently popped up in Seattle for night courses beginning August 19, that's a lot of overseas travel in a very short period of time for an 18-year-old mother with an infant.  Unlikely.

What is the source for this Kenyan myth?  Probably the president himself, who was advertised as Kenyan-born when he was soliciting interest for his first book (which eventually was released as Dreams from My Father), and who did not dissuade people of his exotic foreign connections when he was running for Illinois state senator or for the U.S. Senate.  Only when he began his campaign for the presidency did it become important for him to emphasize his Hawaiian (native-born) roots.

Michelle got it right.  Ann Dunham's story is very much that of a young single mother, unexpectedly pregnant in the early 1960s.

I am old enough to remember what it was like back then.  I was in college at the same time Ann Dunham was a freshman at the University of Hawaii.

Abortions were illegal.  Condoms were sold surreptitiously.  The Pill became available in 1960, but it was initially expensive and had serious side effects, so it did not come into widespread use until 1963.  Educated young women looking forward to careers before marriage were terrified of getting pregnant because this was a life-changing event at an inconvenient time (as the president himself put it, one was "punished with a baby").

For most college-bound young unmarried women who gave birth in 1961 (and for many years earlier), the storyline was about the same.  The young woman dropped out of school and essentially disappeared (usually living at home) until giving birth.  Then the baby was put up for adoption.

However, in 1961, mixed-race babies were very hard to place.  Most white families didn't want dark-skinned babies, and black families wanted "authentically black" children, and adoption agencies would automatically classify the offspring of black/white relationships as "negro."  (Thank God, for the sake of the infants, that today such bigotry has almost disappeared.)  So Ann may not have had much choice except to keep her baby -- although, by having become legally married (she thought), she clearly had made the choice in advance of birth to raise baby Barack herself.

While I was researching my previous article, "Secrets Revealed," I came to realize that there are very few entries on the president's (real) birth certificate that could possibly be controversial, and none that would contradict his native-born status.  One of these is Line 23 (delayed filing), which if filled in would have been used for a non-hospital birth.  (But not indicating an out-of-country birth; remember, this is a Hawaiian birth certificate.)  Another is Line 18a, the mother's signature, which normally would be expected to reveal the mother's marital status.  A third is the father's identity in Lines 8 through 12b, which could have subsequently been altered by later adoption (by Lolo Soetoro).  The remaining information (other than naming the infant) is pretty much irrelevant, and none of this contradicts a Hawaiian birth.

Producing a "birth-certificate" forgery is a big scam to cover up a minor fact -- that the Dunham/Obama marriage was not a real marriage.  Is it really worth the political risk of having the scam exposed?

Perhaps not to you or me -- but we're normal people.  The supposedly storybook nature of the first two years of this marriage was central to the Obama 2008 presidential campaign; it appears in Dreams from My Father; and the president occasionally repeats the myth, as in this speech (excerpted here) to students at Wakefield High School, Arlington, Virginia, on September 8, 2009:

Now, I know it's not always easy to do well in school.  I know a lot of you have challenges in your lives right now that can make it hard to focus on your schoolwork.  I get it.  I know what it's like.  My father left my family when I was two years old, and I was raised by a single mom who had to work and who struggled at times to pay the bills and wasn't always able to give us the things that other kids had.  There were times when I missed having a father in my life.  There were times when I was lonely and I felt like I didn't fit in.

So I wasn't always as focused as I should have been on school, and I did some things I'm not proud of, and I got in more trouble than I should have.  And my life could have easily taken a turn for the worse.

This is also the version of the marriage that Ann told her child when he was growing up -- and Mr. Obama is probably not too keen on having researchers rummaging around, trying to figure out what really happened in his family in the early 1960s.  And most of the public is not aware of this research being done into the president's early years, and therefore most of the public thinks the fairytale version is real.

For a politician with a super-strong ego, and a composite public persona to protect heading into a heated re-election campaign, perhaps masking the true story of his parents' marriage is important enough for him to claim that a forged "birth certificate" is his authentic long-form Hawaiian birth certificate.

You decide.

Meanwhile, we can all enjoy watching the formerly-mainstream media twist themselves into pretzels trying to ignore the big scam of a forged "birth certificate" of a U.S. president covering up a minor detail in this president's birth history which has already been revealed and which is now becoming widely known.

Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer, and stock market newsletter writer.  During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers, and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment.  You can read more of his work at contrariansview.org.