|For Immediate ReleaseSen. Jacques
Court Investigation Opposed
Fatherhood advocates accuse Senator of bias against men
BOSTON, November 4In a strongly worded letter to Senate President Thomas Birmingham and Rep. James Fagan, chair of the Post Audit and Oversight Committee, the Fatherhood Coalition voiced its outrage at the choice of Senator Cheryl Jacques (D. Needham) to head an investigation into the training and reporting standards of guardian ad litems (GALs). These are the court-appointed investigators who make custody recommendations to judges in contested child custody litigation.
The Fatherhood Coalition is a statewide organization founded in 1994 that advocates for fathers rights.
Senator Cheryl Jacques is the Senate chair of the Post Audit and Oversight Committee, the only legislative committee with subpoena power that has virtually unlimited ability to investigate state agencies.
In the letter to Birmingham and Fagan, the Coalition state that a "full-scale investigation of how family court practices wreak havoc on the father-child relationship and the dismemberment of families is long overdue." They further indicate that they would be willing participants in an honest investigation to that end.
The Fatherhood Coalition also assert that Jacques has a history of favoring anti-father legislation and accuse her of anti-male bigotry, and that she is unqualified to head up an investigation of "something as sensitive to us as the mechanism by which denial of custody rights to fathers have been institutionalized in this state."
According to Coalition Spokesman Mark Charalambous:
"Senator Jacques is widely viewed as fatherhood's biggest foe in the State House. She has actively pursued legislative initiatives that invariably harm fathersthough always disguised as protecting women and children.
Jacques is an orthodox victim-feminist. She perceives the relations between the sexes as one of power and control, rather than love, partnership and reciprocity. Her personal revelations this past year confirmed the suspicions of many that she has some deeply ingrained hostility towards men. Such a person should not be entrusted with the authority to effect policy on matters of family relations and the welfare of children."
The Fatherhood Coalition criticize Jacques for her sponsorship of the "Jacques/Cohen" bill, which became law in the last legislative session. The law "dumbed-down" the standards by which domestic violence should be considered in custody and visitation orders and judgments. It replaced the words "domestic violence" with "domestic abuse", a fuzzy concept that is criticized by fathers rights advocates as merely a feminist definition of annoying male behavior that can be adapted to fit any male and deny them access to their children. The law also added a host of remedies available to judges from which to apply to "abusive" divorcing parents--a euphemism for fathers. As a result, programs such as the so-called "batterer's intervention" programs and supervised visitation centers are now institutionalized in the letter of Massachusetts divorce law.
The Fatherhood Coalition are calling on their members to refuse to offer input into the committee's investigation, as they do not wish to be perceived as validating the work of Sen. Jacques.
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CPF - The Fatherhood Coalition
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