October 31, 2000



Phil Lawler

978- 365- 6046

Phil Lawler, the Constitution Party candidate for the US Senate, today announced his "unequivocal support" for the cause of fathers' rights.

"In practice, our family courts today show a heavy bias against men, with devastating results for fathers and for families," the conservative candidate charged. Lawler added, "It is essential to restore Due Process rights for fathers."

The Constitution Party candidate, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Ted Kennedy, revealed that as he met with voters across Massachusetts, we was struck by the number of men who reported problems with the family courts. "There are thousands of fathers suffering," he said; "and as a result their children are suffering too."

Lawler-- whose campaign slogan is "For your Family-- for your Freedom"-- stressed that he regards divorce as a tragic event, which should be avoided whenever possible. However, with divorce rates now approaching 60%, he reasoned, the government must be prepared to deal with the consequences of broken homes.

"The health of the family is the most important concern for any government, and any society," Lawler said. "But when families do break up, we must do our best to give the children the best possible chance of living in a situation that resembles that of the nuclear family."

Unfortunately, family courts today are contributing to the breakdown of families, Lawler charged. "Quietly, the definition of 'family' is changing from 'father, mother, and children' to 'mother and children.' This is a dangerous and unhealthy trend that must be reversed," he said.d

Currently children of divorced and separated parents are exposed to an adversarial system in which there are "winners" and "losers," Lawler pointed out. In practice, fathers usually become the disenfranchised "non-custodial " parents, while mothers gain custody and lawyers reap large fees. 

"But really, our children are the ultimate victims, and the biggest losers in the game," Lawler observed. He pointed to the enormous volume of social-science research demonstrating that the loss of a resident parent -- almost invariably the father -- is harmful to children. 

In America today, one of every three children lives in a home without a father, Lawler noted. These children account for:
- 90% of all homeless youngsters,.
- 85% of all children diagnosed with behavioral problems,
- 63% of all youth suicides,
- 71% of all high-school dropouts,
- 75% of all young people in drug-abuse treatment centers,
- 71% of teen pregnancies, and
- 70% of the juveniles in state custody.

"These statistics point to a devastating trend, and family courts are aggravating that trend," Lawler complained. He recommended a three-step program to address the problem.

1. The elimination of "no-fault" divorce laws.
"Husbands and wives-- mothers and fathers-- should be held accountable for the breakdown of a family," Lawler said. "This is not a step that should ever be taken lightly."

2. A crackdown on lawyers who seek restraining orders against husbands and fathers without substantial evidence that the men are dangerous.

"The abuse of restraining orders had become epidemic," Lawler charged. "Husbands and fathers are routinely being denied the benefit of Due Process, which is guaranteed by the Constitution."

3. A legal presumption that after a divorce or separation, the parents will be given joint or shared custody of the children except in cases when there is clear and compelling evidence to suggest that one parent is unfit.

"Our children have suffered long enough at the hands of an activist judiciary," Lawler said. "It's time for energetic action to protect the rights of fathers-- and, thereby, the future of our families."


For Family.... For Freedom

Phil Lawler

US Senate

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