The Family Equality Movement… Raising the Bar

FUANFUAN Events, Guest Contributor, News & Events

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Much Focus Has Recently Been Placed On the Unprecedented Progress Made In Iowa.
Fortunately, This Family Equality Movement Is Not Confined to the Borders Of One State.

Custodial Reform is becoming less a partisan matter and more a human rights and equality issue.

Something astonishing is currently happening on the political front in Illinois. Democratic State House Representatives in Illinois are increasingly setting aside historical partisan ideologies and supporting the notion of Shared Parenting as being in the true best interest of children. Representative LaShawn Ford (D) presented his bill, HB-4113, which would have family courts grant equal parenting time following a separation or divorce.

For reference to HB-4113 and the sponsors of this bill, Click Here 

Doing what is right for children must not be a partisan issue, though the hard reality is that historically it has been. Though bipartisanship is necessary for matters of equality, it is crucial when children are involved. A trend of voting along party lines with occasional crossover has long existed. Republicans have typically supported a Rebuttable Presumption of Shared Parenting, whereas Democrats have generally opposed it.

However, as Bob Dylan once said, “The Times They Are A-Changin.” Ironically, Dylan’s lyrics of the Civil Rights Movement from 1964 resonate with another inequality that we face today:

Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway. Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside, and it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'. 

Commonly, when one party opposes Shared Parenting, the phrase that “more research is needed” to support Shared Parenting is thrown out in conversation. However, it is more of a farcical scapegoat than truth. There are a plethora of sociological and psychological studies that convincingly conclude that shared care is indeed in the genuine best interest of children when neither parent is a detriment to the children, and both parents are loving, willing, and able.

The overused response of needing more research is no longer relevant and will no longer be accepted. It is now the responsibility of legislators to acknowledge this research combined with an overwhelming public opinion which far outweighs outdated legislation and political affiliation. To see more research on the topic of shared care, please Visit FUANs Custodial Reform Committee Page.

Image for FUAN post "Raising the Bar"Custodial Inequality is not endemic. It is pandemic. Thankfully, there is now a cure, and it may be readily available to the public soon. The Rebuttable Presumption of Shared Parenting can eradicate this injustice. With bipartisan cooperation for the betterment of the families, parental equality can, at last, become realized while still protecting children from unfit or unwilling parents.

Many states have made significant progress in custody reform. Republicans and Democrats are re-writing history.

They are abandoning historical sociopolitical ideologies by crossing party lines and supporting Shared Parenting together.

These courageous men and women have realized that to stand for what is truly right for children and parents alike is worth more than partisan allegiance.

States that have strong Democratic support for Shared Parenting include North Carolina, Vermont, New Jersey, Illinois, and increasingly in Iowa. Please refer to current sponsorships of shared care throughout the United States of America. Click Here to see the Shared Parenting Bills in 2018.

With Republicans and Democrats working together, the question arises as to who continues to oppose Shared Parenting. The answer lies deep within the special interest groups that oppose social progression for monetary gain. Just as legislators are coming forward, crossing party lines, and admitting the wrongdoings and injustices in Family Law, Bar Associations must also be held accountable. The pattern of Bar Association members opposing Shared Parenting is readily available. If you need more evidence, Visit This Site to view the current lobbyists who are for/against/undecided in regard to SF 2374 in Iowa.

Three of the four who currently oppose SF 2374 directly represent the Iowa State Bar Association. The fourth, the Director of Public Policy and representative for the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) represents a very serious cause. Not coincidentally, however, the Legal Clinic Director of ICADV is an active member of the Iowa State Bar Association.

Image of FUAN Executive Director Nicholas Dreeszen and Senator William Dotzler

FUAN Executive Director Nicholas Dreeszen and Senator William Dotzler

This disturbing pattern is blatantly apparent. In fairness, attorneys throughout our country opposed to Shared Parenting believe they see something that ordinary people do not, though it is neither reality nor truth. For the sake of educating the masses, let me be blatantly honest as we deserve the facts.

These attorneys see a tremendous monetary gain that supports their practices, non-profit organizations, and lifestyles with current custody law that enables them to gain significant income from desperate parents who will spend their last dime to see their children. The problem is not a political party; the problem is corrupt attorneys.

To do the right thing for children, parents, and families is not a matter of political party. It should not be about monetary gain and pleasing special interests.

Our legislators have been voted into office by us, and we ask that they hear our cries. Our request from men, women, and children for the equality that has been stripped from many of us and wrongfully justified with flawed legislation is not an unreasonable request.

It is essential to look at states where Republicans and Democrats are working in a bipartisan manner to achieve the actual best interest of children and ignore the distracting static of special interests.

We must learn from one another, though let us not just be a part of history; let us make history. May each state assembly forever be remembered as one of the many assemblies that righted the wrongs and oppression of a judicial injustice that has persisted for decades.

Every assembly session begins with a prayer. Please hear ours.

This article is a guest submission by Dr. Reese R. Petersen of Clinton, Iowa. DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in guest posts, are the personal opinions of the author. They may or may not reflect the opinions of Families United Action Network (FUAN) or its individual members. Note that submissions may be edited for clarity if needed. 

Image of Dr. Reese R, Peterson of Clinton, IowaDr. Reese R. Petersen is a healthcare provider in Clinton, IA. When you meet him, just call him by his preferred name of Reese. He is the proud father of two sons and future WWE Superstars, Lincoln and Wyatt.

Reese has become an advocate for shared parenting as a result of his experience with Iowa custody code and court. He understands the turmoil that this arduous process places on families, one that begins at the moment of separation or divorce and continues far beyond the judicial proceedings.

Despite being a relatively busy man, Reese takes time to study Biblical theology, eschatology, and philosophy. He has also been a singer/songwriter for over half of his life.

No matter how busy his schedule may be, he always clears it when he has the opportunity to be with his children. Being self-employed has been a blessing to allow him to take off days to spend with them.

As Reese moves on with his life, he has found a new romantic interest. He is thankful for her patience, understanding, and genuine care. He believes it to be a blessing seeing the love and adoration his children and girlfriend share. He enjoys writing, and has a burning passion for “righting the wrongs of the world.”

Reese knows he cannot change everything, so he focuses much of his energy on those things which he believes he can help to influence.

To that end, Reese supports SF 2374 (formerly SSB 3154). He believes this bill can and will improve the lives of a multitude of men, women, and children… not only now, but for generations to come.

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