FLDS kids/ Review Support?/ Canadian Motion/ Detroit News-Bike Trek!

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.org)
Date: Fri May 23 2008 - 13:53:02 EDT

Good People & People of Faith:

This message has info on:

1. FLDS kids taken in Texas - outrage?
2. Support? Movie - your reviews wanted!
3. Canada - EQUAL parenting MOTION in Parliament.
4. Detroit Paper covers bike trek - Civil Rights.

1. FLDS kids taken in Texas -  outrage?
Did what happened in Texas leave you feeling confused about what was
right?  Did you change your mind a few times based on what you read or
saw on TV?  Still not sure?  Join the crowd!

Below are a series of link from news sites (if you need a refresher).
They are in chronological order with the most recent item at the

I was reminded of 'our movements' response in the past when some
parent/child headlines were made by both Alec Baldwin and Britney
Spears.  "We" weren't sure where we stood?  The most recent episode in
Texas highlights, by our lack of response, how far we have to go as a
movement.  It appears we don't really know the 'words' that define
what we stand for?

At our web site we have some pretty clear goals and wording for
reform, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/approach.htm -- If I apply those
standards NONE of those children should have been 'taken' until
criminal charges were filed against their parents.  If the DA felt the
parents were 'predators' or 'dangerous' to children one or both should
have been jailed pending trial (with speedy trial rights). ONLY if no
parents were left (and no relatives available for placement) should
they have been 'taken' by the state.  Of course, a 12 person unanimous
jury verdict would be required for parental conviction.

The 'state' meant to do the right thing.  I don't doubt in a few cases
underage children were raped, but didn't every single child/parent get
abused when all were taken?  The criminal prosecution didn't happen
because it would have been 'too hard'.  Isn't that the entire point of
what we are talking about in protecting our rights to be presumed
EQUAL and FIT parents.  It needs to be 'hard'.

If you voluntarily moved into a 'bad' neighborhood and half your
neighbors were criminals -- would you expect to just be swept up and
jailed with them in a big group?  We don't allow that in America.
Would it be okay if we just took your kids since you don't know what's

Your FEEDBACK is welcome on this, but I do ask you include a reference
to what your 'standard' is before government can interfere and
determine you are NOT a FIT or EQUAL parent to your child, and then
apply that standard to this case.  Oh, and I was also outraged over
most of the commentary just referring to "mother's" being hurt by this
or allowed to 'visit' their kids.  What about the dad's? Do they
count? Do they have feelings?

* About 'escaping' the group:

* ACLU considers rights of 'mothers & children'

* Texas accuses parents of abuse, takes kids: 

* 31 girls pregnant or had baby:

* Boys with broken bones:

* Texas appeals court says parental rights were violated

2. Support? Movie - your reviews wanted!

The movie Support? System Down had it's premier in California last
weekend.  If anyone had an opportunity to see the movie we welcome
your non-anonymous reviews of the film and what other people thought
of it.  Please send to articles@AKidsRight.Org

3. Canada - EQUAL parenting MOTION in Parliament.
Submitted by: "George Piskor" gwpiskor@sympatico.ca
   http://www.canadianepc.com/ Canadian Equal Parenting Council

------------------ [background]
Vellacott introduces Private Member's Motion to promote equal parenting

For Immediate Release,  April 17, 2008

OTTAWA Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) this
week introduced a Private Member's Motion that notes the importance of
the participation of both parents in the raising of their children,
even in the case of marital breakdown, in all cases except those of
abuse and neglect.

A 1998 Canadian Special Joint House-Senate Committee on Child Custody
and Access produced a report entitled 'For The Sake of the Children.'
This report had important recommendations on equal
parenting. Vellacott's motion again raises the importance of these

 "More equity needs to be brought into the way Canadian courts decide
 on custodial and access questions," said Vellacott. "The changes that
 my motion would encourage are in the best interests of children."

This motion reads as follows:

M-483 April 11, 2008 Mr. Vellacott (SaskatoonWanuskewin) That, in the
opinion of the House, the government should propose amendments to the
Divorce Act so that law and practice ensure due process protection of
rights and equality of parents, and to ensure that children benefit
from equal parenting from both their mother and their father, after
separation or divorce.  

1. FYI, CEPC has sent out two personalized mall mailings over the
weekend in support M-483 PMM:

This is a follow on to the earlier phased mass mailing starting about
3 weeks ago. The CEPC mailings are being done in concert with your
individual mailings and calls to MPs in support of M-483 motion for
'Equal Parenting'

2. STATUS: We now have 5 seconders to M-483. Additionally, as part of
this campaign, we have identified 51 MPs (35 CON, 14 LIB, 1NDP, 1 IND)
who are 'friendly' to the cause. The latter will be our springboard
for subsequent campaigns to build our base of parliamentary
allies. List of allied MPs is available any time to requesting CEPC

3. CEPC has developed a Parliamentary mailing list with Prefix, First
Name, Last Name, Suffix, and email address for personalized mailing
campaigns using mail-merge (e.g. Outlook, Word). List is available
upon request to any CEPC individual or organizational member, or other
FRM organization.

4. Detroit News covers bike trek - Civil Rights.
Submitted by: "Ken Walker" kc9bdr@yahoo.com

[ see above link for article as it appears on Detroit News website, text below ]

  Monday, May 19, 2008  from the "Detroit News"


  Robert Pedersen was devastated three years ago when a divorce judge
  said he could see his two children only a few days a month.

  Pedersen's divorce agreement now includes long weekends, a Wednesday
  overnight visit and half of summers, holidays and spring breaks with
  his children. It's almost enough time to make him feel that he can
  provide an equal amount of parenting to his kids.

  Michigan law recommends that custody decisions be based on which
  parent has been the primary caregiver unless it can be shown that
  another arrangement is more appropriate, but Pedersen and other
  noncustodial parents are fighting to modify the law so joint
  physical custody becomes the norm. They view equal parenting access
  as a civil rights issue, but opponents say equal time isn't always
  best for children.

  "With the pain of a divorce, a lot of stupid decisions are made
  initially as far as the kids go," said Pedersen, who plans to ride
  his bike from Lansing to Washington, D.C., this summer to raise
  awareness of the issue. "There are different contributions that Mom
  and Dad make to a child, and kids need both of them."

  Noncustodial fathers think gender bias plays a role in these
  decisions and reduces them to visitors who pay child
  support. Children need both parents equally, they say.

  But many custodial parents, family law attorneys and domestic
  violence activists oppose making joint custody mandatory.

  They say every family is different, and 50-50 custody doesn't work
  in every situation.
  It becomes especially difficult when parents live in different
  school districts or one of them doesn't want joint custody. Another
  factor is that mandating joint custody can sometimes disrupt a
  child's stability.

  "When a child's whole world is changing, we want to keep as much
  stable in their lives as we can," said Karen Sendelbach, chair of
  the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

  Other opponents say noncustodial parents sometimes want joint
  custody simply to even the score with their ex-partner or to reduce
  their child support obligation. A noncustodial parent's support
  payments can drop by as much as 40 percent if the child stays
  overnight 128 times or more each year.
  "The 50-50 custody split is more about people not wanting to feel
  the other parent has won," said Kent Weichmann, chair of the
  Legislative Committee of the Family Law Section.

  "It has nothing to do with the relationship with the child. It's
  more about who's winning. It also has to do with paying less child

  More dads join movement But supporters say this issue is not ever
  going to go away, especially as more fathers join the movement,
  including movie stars Alec Baldwin and Denzel Washington.

  "It's a civil rights movement that is coming into its own," said
  David L. Levy, CEO of the Children's Rights Council, based outside
  Washington, D.C.

  "It goes to the core of the right of a human being: the right to be
  a parent to your child, and of the children to be part of your

  Next to child support, child custody is perhaps the most heated
  issue between parents when they split up and try to restructure
  their lives with their children.

  Michigan hasn't kept reports on custody arrangements for several
  years, but the latest information, in 2003, shows that the Friend of
  the Court recommended physical custody of the children for mothers
  in 68 percent of the 14,470 cases that year, while fathers were
  recommended 12 percent of the time. Joint custody was recommended in
  2,717 cases -- about 18 percent.

  While noncustodial mothers are also part of the joint custody
  movement, it is spearheaded primarily by fathers and appears to be
  gaining momentum nationally.

  More than 25 states have laws regarding joint custody that are much
  stronger than Michigan's, Levy said.
  Since the 1990s, Michigan fathers have been trying to get the laws
  changed to force the courts to immediately presume equal joint

  A hearing was recently held on the fourth bill introduced in the
  Michigan Legislature, but it was not voted out of the House
  Judiciary Committee. It includes an exception for unfit parents.

  In between the four pieces of legislation, the fathers launched a
  failed petition drive to put the ballot before voters and also were
  unsuccessful in a class action lawsuit in federal court.

  Moms' groups eclipsed Michigan dads say their effort is growing --
  four new state organizations support the issue, and their ranks have
  grown from 5,000 to 20,000 people, said Lake Orion resident Jim
  Semerad, one of the leaders in Michigan's movement.

  The growth appears to be eclipsing grass-roots groups headed by
  custodial mothers. The Association for the Enforcement of Child
  Support, a national group, was founded in Toledo in 1984 by activist
  Geraldine Jensen. She had a base in Ann Arbor for two years, before
  her 2004 retirement, which galvanized a number of Metro Detroit

  The organization is now headquartered in Cleveland, has become more
  virtual and is less visible in Michigan.

  ACES executive director Debbie Klein is not concerned about Michigan
  fathers' activism.

  They have always had more time and money to lobby lawmakers, while
  mothers tend to devote their time to raising the children, she said.

  Joint custody simply cannot work for everyone, Klein said, because
  some couples are never going to be able to get along.

  And it's the conflict between the parents in broken families that is
  most devastating to children, not the actual divorce.

  "It puts the children in a horrible situation," Klein said. "That's
  what custody should always be about; it should always be about
  what's best for the children."

  'It's the right thing to do' Many fathers say it's best for children
  to be with both parents and that they will keep fighting until the
  law changes in Michigan.

  "It's the right thing to do," Semerad said. It's also why Pedersen,
  36, is training every morning for his 758-mile bike trek in August
  with five other fathers to spread the word about what they think
  should be the law of the land.

  "Kids do best with shared parenting, as long as it doesn't disrupt
  the school schedule and the parents are fit and willing," Pedersen

  You can reach Kim Kozlowski at (313) 222-2024 or

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
A Kid's Right to Both Parents!
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