For Immediate Release

Rally to be held at state senator’s office

Fathers ask Senator Lees if he supports equal rights for parents

November 20, 2001

Release No. 11/01-139

SPRINGFIELD, Mass – Members of the Hampden County Chapter of The Fatherhood Coalition will rally today, Tuesday, Nov. 20 at Senator Brian Lees (R) office at 527 Main Street (Indian Orchard) Springfield.

The group wants to accomplish two objectives, at least initially, with the demonstration, according to Mike Franco, State Co-Chair for The Fatherhood Coalition. First, they want an opportunity to help educate the public about issues affecting non-custodial parents, generally men and fathers, and second, they would like an answer from Senator Lees as to his specific stance on legislation and initiatives that support equal rights for parents, irregardless of gender.

“We’d like to know how the Senator supports Senate Bill S813,” Franco said. “Will he, or has he, voted favorably on the bill.”

“Senator Lees is either with us or against us,” he said. Many fathers in the movement content that the persecution of fathers has gone on at least two decades too long.

The bill entitled, “An Act Relative To Strengthening Family Relationships Through Responsible Shared Parenting,” or more informally called the “Brewer Bill” within parental rights circles, will create a presumption of shared physical custody to “fit” parents in the event of divorce and separation of married or unwed parents.

Its use of progressive language such as “shared parenting” and “parentin plan” will ensure children frequent and continued contact with both parents, Franco said. The bill was presented last March to the 17-member Joint Committee on the Judiciary of which Senator Lees and Representative Gale Candaras (D), Wilbraham, are two Western Massachusetts legislators in attendance.

S-813 was sponsored by three Central Massachusetts legislators; Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D), and Representatives Mark J. Carron (D) and Reed V Hillman (R) along with various other members of the legislature from Pittsfield to Boston.

Most fathers’ and children’s rights groups contend that a presumption of shared physical custody along with fairness in the family court process will significantly reduce acrimony inherent in child custody disputes, and legislative initiatives like S813 are essential for healthy families.

“The bill, when it becomes law, will provide a natural inclination toward the best interests of children and will afford ‘fit’ parents the dignity and respect they deserve,” Franco said.


CPF / The Fatherhood Coalition

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