First wife (and by many accounts, the woman behind the man) Marion Young got a $2,000-a-month lifetime alimony in exchange for her silence, so that Bill Young could play Family Values Patriarch for his Party.
Republican Congressman Bill Young was much revered in Republican circles. When he died, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and others waxed poetic about legendary “family man” Bill Young.
The Republican Congressman was awarded the Family and Freedom Award from the Christian Voice, a conservative Christian right political advocacy group and the biggest religious lobby. Indeed, the Christian Voice used to be housed at the Heritage Foundation back in the 70s and 80s.
No one mentioned that Young received this award just a year after he left his first wife and family, amid a scandalous but unreported affair that included the birth of a child. Out-of-wedlock.
No one talked about the fact that Bill Young abandoned the three children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren from his first marriage to Marian Ford Young. No one even mentioned their names at his funeral on October 18, until one person took a brazen stand.
How did such a public figure stand for family values while he had an entire family he kept in the shadows and a very un-family values start to his second marriage?
Andrew Meacham at The Tampa Bay Times revealed the truth beneath the sealed records, purchased silence, and a press willing to look the other way.
The proof arrived on June 21, 1984, when the congressman and Angello had a son — Charles William Young II — while he was still married to and living with his wife.
Within a few months of Billy Young’s birth, Marian filed for divorce. It took about a year. A critical part of the agreement, she said, centered on keeping the affair and the baby a secret.
“My attorney said, ‘If all of this comes out, the congressman may be in jeopardy of losing his seat. If we can get alimony from him to keep you from letting everybody know about that, that would be beneficial,’ ” Marian Young said.
“I said, ‘Done.’ ”
You won’t hear much from conservatives about Bill Young, and if you try to bring it up, they’ll claim it’s not relevant, even as they cling to the fact that long ago, Democrats were the party of racists. Republicans love to cite Bill Clinton as proof that Democrats are morally depraved, while ignoring their diaper wearing prostitute users, Appalachian Trail seekers who abandoned their first family and post, and the many hypocrites of dubious ethics like Ensign.
But the point is not that they cheated, or had a child out of wedlock even. The point is that they do these things while actively championing laws that remove freedom and choice from women, using their alleged moral superiority as the justification for said theft of rights. Women can’t have access to birth control because Bill Young’s Family and Freedom Award says it’s not family friendly or free for women to have access to control over their bodies.
How do Republicans know such things? We are expected to buy into the premise that these family values men are somehow closer to God, and have divine authority, thus while we might disagree with them, when it comes to being righteous and moral, they win. (This is why they turn every issue into an illogical ode to “morality” as defined only by them – it’s a way of empowering the already privileged.)
It’s so much better when women are helpless victims that can be bought off when a man needs to keep his image up.
It’s hardly a news flash that Republicans hold no such moral authority. But they seem to be oblivious to this fact, and there are always cheerleaders to the patriarchs — those women who are benefiting from the current structure because they are in favor with the patriarch, receiving the resources and public status of association with said patriarch.
Yes, Bill Young’s second wife Beverly blames the children for the Republican’s abandonment, going so far in her paranoia to deny access to the October funeral to some who knew the truth about her relationship with Bill Young when he was still married to his first wife, including barring former Gov. Charlie Crist and Jessica Ehrlich, whose father Meacham writes, “was the lawyer for Marian Young during the divorce”.
Meacham got some rather disturbing quotes from Beverly Young, in which she bends over backwards to blame the victims of her choices. “They (Bill’s children from his first marriage)are going to use the media to try to get back at me. It’s been 30 years and it’s a joke. He had nothing to do with them and he wanted nothing to do with them after he tried in the beginning. He would tell me to tell you they are not his family.”
Young even once claimed that he “never had a son named Terry,” his wife said.
Asked whether any photos of Young’s first family were included in the photo montage at his funeral, Mrs. Young replied: “Hell, no. Why would I do that? Why should they be? They played no part in his life whatsoever. Consider that courtesy of me.”
Mrs. Family Values keeps tossing out accusations so that no one asks her why she and Mr. Family Values were having an affair and how this plays into her image as Mrs. Family Values.
See if you can spot the victim blaming and sexism in this statement Beverly Young emailed to the Times, “She (Marion, his first wife) attempted to make him stay in a loveless marriage by having her children”.
“Her children” was an especially golden touch. So, to wit, the GOP argument is that women should be denied birth control and access to safe abortions, but they should also expect to be left along with “their children” on a whim, because the Appalachian Trail calls. If the Trail calls, expect to be dumped with “your children” on the side of the road while Mr Family Values builds a new family for the photos.
Bill Young’s “family values” exemplify perfectly the Republican attitude toward “family” and women. It’s not that Republicans are the only politicians who cheat on their spouses. Of course not.
It’s that they do it and often abandon their first families in order to craft the perfect picture of a “family man” with their second or third family, at the expense and neglect of the other humans with whom they had a contract. They do this while hypocritically advocating for “family values” that just so happen to remove power and control from the very women from whom they demand silence and submission.
If anyone is still confused about why women burn with outrage over the Republican assault on women’s rights, this story should explain it. The premise used to justify the theft of our rights is a lie. We have known this for a long time, and yet the public still seems content to buy into the frame of moral righteousness presented by the Republican Party, regardless of their actions.
Image: Bill Young’s first family with wife Marion, courtesy of the Young family via The Tampa Bay Times
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.