“We Are Fathers” Campaign Begins in Nashville
It’s the boldest proposal coming from my first day in Nashville. A sponsor of our campaign originally suggested the idea at the Divorce Corp Family Law Conference at our nation’s capital this past November. Now it is gaining momentum.
After years of frustration seeking justice and equal rights in a Tennessee family court, the father who advanced it is adamant that conventional channels will remain corrupt and dysfunctional for many years to come. Something more profound was needed to secure meaningful reform. Debate on the subject was lively to say the least.
Of course, opponents of the plan argued that a united consensus among fathers to stop paying support would mean breaking the law. Guys could go to jail for this. Women’s rights groups would go wild and our cause would be harmed. Finally the question was put: what about the children?
To this I emphasized that Susan B. Anthony was a convicted criminal who refused to pay her fine in protest of discrimination against women. Her crime: voting in the 1872 elections. The U.S. Supreme Court justice who presided over her criminal trial never did commit Susan to jail as was the prescribed remedy for such a willful violation of the so-called law.
As for the children, the real question is this: is it more important for them to have money or a real father? What incentive is there for a father to earn money when he is not accorded equal rights in parenting or alienated altogether in order to enrich family court lawyers or a scorned adversary?
Two ironies emerge from the Nashville proposal and the crimes committed by our greatest women’s rights advocate. First, had Susan B. Anthony continued to comply with “the law” women would still be considered too ignorant to vote. And with such precedent, can it be said that today’s fathers are being ignorant when they comply with the current system of discriminatory laws which makes them visitors and indentured servants in their children’s lives simply because of their parental birth status? The Census Bureau continues to report that 85% of all parents paying support are fathers.
This leads to our second irony. The courtroom in Rochester, New York where my law license was suspended for a refusal to pay support is dedicated to none other than Susan B. Anthony. If a conscientious father, model citizen and successful civil rights attorney, unblemished for over 23 years can make such a sacrifice, why not others? Our military makes a greater sacrifice before returning home to the same unjust laws.
As for women’s rights groups, one of the first supporters to be sought behind such a proposal should be the National Organization for Women. After all, if equal rights is their true mantra, they should be out front seeking it for children and future generations. Otherwise their whole movement is nothing more than a giant hypocrisy.
It leads to one final irony. During my civil rights career, I became the attorney and trusted advocate for Karen DeCrow. For those of you who do not recognize the name, she was an attorney and president of the National Organization for Women. A referendum on this bold proposal is expected before Father’s Day 2015. Will NOW be its strongest supporter.
Dr. Leon R. Koziol
Parental Rights Advocate