Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Parents Without Rights
Parents Without Rights is a political interest and support group based in Florida, United States that campaigns for the reform of family law. It was founded in 1991 by a group of Rocket Scientists and Engineers on Kennedy Space Center who discovered that while they were competent to send men and women into outer space, that Florida's Family Courts did not consider them competent to be active Father and Parents, much less have custody of their children, when their marriages ended in divorce. In 1995, they were reorganized by Dr. Grayson Walker.
Although Florida law is explicitly gender neutral, the Florida Courts make the mother the custodial parent in slightly more than 90% of all cases, with the father the non-custodial parent in the remaining cases. Although the Florida Court often grants the father visitation, the group argues that this "turns the Father into a visitor in the lives of his child(ren)".
Parents Without Rights argues that unless one parent can be proven to be unfit and dangerous to the child(ren), anything less than 50/50 parenting is child abuse. They agrue that children's fundamental rights are protected only when both parents are treated as equals, starting with equal time with the children.
The standard visition of the Florida courts consists of alternating weekends and a few holidays; this amounts to about 14% of the child's time. Parents Without Rights argues that this standard visitation does not allow enough time for the non-custodial parent to form a meaningful relationship with their child.
Their argument for equality and equal parental rights is based upon the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This position was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in Troxel et vir. v. Granville, 530 US 57, 67 (2000). The Court stated that parenting is a fundamental right protected by the United States Constitution. In Troxel, the court wrote: The liberty interest at issue in this case -- the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children -- is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. … In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. (Troxel, supra, at 66)
Parents Without Rights has testified many times before the Florida Legislature's committee on families and children. Representative Randy Ball introduced the Uniform Parental Rights Enforcement and Protection Act at the behest of Parents Without Rights. They worked with the National Congress of Families and Children for the passage of the 1998 Visitation Reform Act.
In 1998, and again in 1999, the group mounted a successful campaign to prevent the appointment of Jessie Preston Silvernail to the Fifth District Court of Appeals.
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