Good People & People of Faith,

In this message:
1) Final prep for May 9th "I LOVE YOU" event - make an impact!
2) Equal Parenting Party - gaining traction in New York.
3) Your FEEDBACK - Rebuttable Presumption or Fundamental Right?
NOTE: We've had problems with SPAM filters trapping mail. Later  today you should receive another message in plain text.  Hopefully you receive them both -- just a one time event.

1) Final prep for May 9th "I LOVE YOU" event - make an impact!
The Friday before Mother's Day, we are trying to influence two
US Senators that Family Rights are important.  We have some
parents who are willing to risk arrest by writing "I LOVE YOU"
with kid's chalk on the ground outside the Hanley Federal
Building in Syracuse.  The more people we have there to witness
and to visit the Senators offices -- the less risk involved.

Hope to see you Friday afternoon. About a dozen people so far plan
on making the trip. News releases will go out early next week
& we think local News Media will show up for the story and talk
to people.

We are making final arrangements now, please call me on my cell:
315-430-2702 or email: jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org if you are
attending.  We'd like to have a lunch get together before we go to
the Federal Building at 1 PM.  Contact me for details.

2) Equal Parenting Party - gaining traction in New York.
Greg Fischer, a long proponent of Family Law Reform and very
experienced with politics, has made great progress in getting
an Equal Parenting Party established in New York -- and
hopefully nationwide.

He can use some help, contact via Facebook, or also email

One important item as we consider Family Rights -- is it a
rebuttable presumption or a Civil Right?  
(See FEEDBACK below)

3) Your FEEDBACK - Rebuttable Presumption or Fundamental Right?
Get yourself a drink and take a few minutes to follow the
conversation below.  You are welcome to send in your thoughts and
we'll also share those with the group.  It's an important item for making
reform a reality.

From: Glenn Cheriton <>

President, CEPC
Canadian Equal Parenting Council
631 Tubman Cr
Ottawa ON K1V8L5

> I note your dig at the proposed Canadian legislation (which we
> at the Canadian Equal parenting Council are co-sponsoring) which
> aims to reform the federal Divorce Act so that parents do not
> lose their children in divorce unless a certain level of proof
> is attained.

> That, in legal language is a presumption that both parents and
> fit and should get equal time and responsibility unless that is
> rebutted by being shown that the child's best interest would be
> “substantially enhanced” by another custody sharing (presumably
> sole custody).

> If properly interpreted by judges, this is the equivalent of
> “innocent until proved guilty”.  That is the intent of our
> legislation.

> I don't presume to know the state of your knowledge and wisdom
> on Canadian family law, but we have extensively consulted on
> this wording and it is our considered decision that this is as
> far as we can reasonably expect to push things at this stage.

> We are a federation of parents organizations across Canada which
> engages in political action to reform law and practice.

> Your comment suggesting that people should not be satisfied with
> this is, in my opinion, an unwise and insulting dig at a
> volunteer group of parents who are working to make real change.

> I don't make comments out to the public asking “ well, if you
> are satisfied with writing in chalk on the sidewalk…”

> There are all sorts of efforts at reforms and the movement
> should be working together rather than trying to minimize,
> insult or diminish the efforts of others.

> We have initiatives at international, provincial and federal
> levels, which go beyond this initial legislation. A success in
> this legislation can lead to further initiatives. We are not
> stopping with this.

> If those in the family rights movement want us to fail for
> reasons that I am convinced at the heart of it are unhealthy,
> then your comment will encourage that type of attitude and
> non-co-operation with other groups. You don't need to build up
> your support by tearing down others and their approaches.

> I have long admired your long and principled fight for justice
> and reforms. This is the first time that I view that you have
> stepped outside of your good track record.

> I am still your admirer, if on this one point, disappointed.

From: John Murtari <jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org>

Good to hear from you and my apologies for the delay.  I know
you've been at this for a while as have many others.  In the last
several years I've been surprised by the lack of public activity.
I appreciate what you are saying, and in part, I have to agree
with you.  Something is better than nothing and "this is as far as
we can reasonably expect to push things at this stage."  Many
people here express similar feelings -- but I also feel if we want
to make real progress the goal has to be big enough and worth the
sacrifice to achieve it.

I'm not sure about the 'big tent' approach to reform?  I sincerely
feel being presumed a fit & equal parent deserves the same level
of protection given to a common criminal.

In the U.S. that means a unanimous verdict from a jury of your
peers and proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you acted with
serious mal-intent toward your kids.  It's not at all about being
a superior, average, or poor parent.  I feel we diminish ourselves
by supporting such wording, "a presumption that both parents and
fit and should get equal time and responsibility unless that is
rebutted by being shown that the child's best interest would be
“substantially enhanced” by another custody sharing (presumably
sole custody)."  Others may find it correct.

I think of my divorce case, I think of many others and parents
also involved with the social workers from "Child Protective
Services" -- and such wording doesn't help?  I think we would
actually benefit ourselves by clearer goals and

I feel this is a fundamental right, others see the need for
government to manage the relationship.  Perhaps we haven't
progressed enough in our thinking on the issue?

All the 'great' Civil Rights were defined and earned by people
willing to sacrifice for what they believed in.  I don't think we
will be any different as families.  When we word goals as 'Civil
Rights', people understand the level of effort needed.  When a
goal is a "rebuttable presumption" -- that is a different level of
effort?  This may be why our groups don't coalesce as they should?

Glenn, I would appreciate your thoughts.  I'd like to get your
reply and share it in a dedicated message for the group.

From: Glenn Cheriton <>

> I understand that you are sincere, and I respect that.

> There are also dozens of similarly sincere parents in Canada who
> feel that a “no-compromises” approach is what it takes, so they
> figure that by sabotaging what our group is trying to do will
> somehow make magic happen. Such people seem to me to each have a
> different expression of what no compromise means, of exactly
> what principle should be used.

> In the real world of politics, I have chosen to make changes
> step by step, and work with people with political skills, or
> those who can work with others and can learn politics.

> I have no problem with those who choose another path. Evidence
> to me is clear: you can make any analogies you want, but I don't
> see the kind of support for our issues from the civil rights
> groups. On the contrary, they oppose parent equality as strongly
> as those on the extreme right.

> “Rights” dialogue may work in the US, but we have not been able
> to make traction with it in Canada. We have a good working group
> with our strategy. Working together is critical for any
> political advocacy group. Others can try other strategy, but it
> is certainly a major annoyance if we get those who should be
> working with us, to make claims (that I privately think are
> unreasonable) that make our work more difficult.

> I hope that we can meet and chat more some time.

> Glenn


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