For Immediate Release

Fathers Protest at State Senator’s Office

Sen. Melconian’s gender politics questioned and rebuked

Release No. 11/01-137
November 15, 2001

SPRINGFIELD, Mass – Members of the Hampden County Chapter of The Fatherhood Coalition will rally tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 16 at Senate Majority Leader Linda J. Melconian’s (D-Springfield) office at 664 Union Street, West Springfield.

The group contends that Senator Melconian’s politics are insensitive to men, further aggravating the state’s “gender wars” in domestic matters created by bad laws and policies, unfit judges and lawyers, and a trial court that systematically, and sometimes blatantly, discriminates against men.

This year, the Senator, as reported in several local non-daily newspapers such as the Chicopee Register, July 19 edition, sponsored legislation and supported programs generally aimed at assisting women only to the detriment of men.

For instance, the passage of Senate Bill 1984 touted by Melconian guarantees unemployment benefits to people who leave their jobs due to “domestic violence,” a term yet to be defined by law, according to Mike Franco, State Co-Chair for the coalition. Regardless of how well intentioned and popular these programs are, they oftentimes inadvertently and adversely affect ordinary men, fathers and their children.

“Good citizens and innocence people are ultimately hurt by hysteria and bad laws, and a “knee-jerk” reaction to impose them,” Franco said. “This particular law will add another incentive for people of bad intention to make false allegations of abuse against others, and our Massachusetts businesses will have to bear the costs.”

The Fatherhood Coalition also questions the data with which some of the Senator’s orientation comes from such as “domestic violence being the single leading cause of injury to women in America today,” he said. The US Department of Justice reports that domestic abuse and violence incidents are almost evenly divided between both men and women partners.

And while there are no legal services for indigent fathers, Franco continued, Senator Melconian feels she must subsidize more abuse industry for women as indicated by her participation in a local golf tournament that raised more than $30,000 for several area women’s shelters.

There is also no provision in the law for lost wages for false allegations abuse, much in the same way there is no recompense for fraudulently obtaining a restraining order under MGL 209A, and then fabricating a violation of it, he said.

According to several people affiliated with the coalition and other father advocacy groups in the area, looking to Senator Melconian about any of these issues afflicting men and their families today usually falls on “deaf ears.”

One constituent of the Senator is infuriated by a lack of compassion for his situation, and her insensitivity toward his wife and their family, and he claims she only cares about “single or divorced mothers.”

Steve Venne of Agawam, in a meeting with Melconian at her West Springfield office explained how the child support for a child he fathered in the late 80’s, but did not know about for the first six years of her life, is almost impossible to afford, and his family is suffering.

“I didn’t realize I had a daughter,” Venne said. As soon as he found out about his child, he accepted the responsibility not realizing how oppressive the support obligation would be for his family today.

“I told Linda that the support guidelines are unfair, and don’t account for my situation,” he said. The Senator’s response to the added financial burden on the Venne family was for Steve to pick up a part-time job in addition to his career and for his wife to get a full-time job, even though she is a stay-at-home parent of their four young children.

“I was unable to plan with my new family for this unexpected occurrence,” he said. “The mother should be held responsible for parental alienation.

"This was very unfair to my daughter,” Venne said. “We were robbed of our most precious years together, but nobody, not the courts nor the politicians, seems to care.”

“My wife and I are sorry we ever voted for Linda Melconian,” he said.

The Fatherhood Coalition, a non-profit all volunteer organization founded in 1994, is comprised of men and women dedicated to educating the public on the importance of fatherhood. The group supports “shared parenting” through mediation and conflict resolution, and seeks to promote fairness in the adjudication of family law. For more information you may contact us through the Fathers' Rights Hotline at 1-413-295-DADS or via our web site at


CPF / The Fatherhood Coalition

A non-profit, all volunteer organization of men and women advocating for fatherhood since 1994