Custody Laws: Our Government in (In)Action

My testimony in front of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee of the Minnesota Senate (photo by Courtney Perry/All Rights Reserved)

Last month, I testified in front of the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee of the Minnesota Senate. I spoke in favor of Bill 1402, which aims to bring presumed equality to shared parenting time in divorced families. Currently, the presumption in Minnesota — that is, the guidelines that are recommended for family court judges to follow — is that one parent gets the majority (75%) of parenting time, and the other parent gets the rest. As you might guess, the 75% almost always goes to the mother. (I won’t comment on my own custody arrangement; negotiations are ongoing.)

This bill has been bouncing around the Capitol for over a decade. One intrepid woman, Molly Olson, has kept the bill alive. She — and I — believe that it is in the best interests of children that the default presumption should be 50-50. The bill makes all sorts of exceptions, for unfit parents and other extenuating circumstances.

By the time I testified, the bill had basically been gutted. The percentage was dropped from 50% to 35%. Nevertheless, I testified that the Court system has habituated a outdated notion that mothers are always better to be the primary parent than fathers. I argued that when the judicial branch of our government is too habituated in certain patterns, the legislative branch needs to step in and set things right.

I acknowledged that it’s odd for a white man to be claiming discrimination. Even so, that’s what this is.

But here’s the funny thing: Democrats are unanimously against this bill, and Republicans are for it. You know who else is against it?

[Read more...]

It’s My 5-Year Twitter Birthday

What are you giving me? A follow, maybe?

If you don’t follow me on Twitter, please do.

If I don’t follow you, tweet at me why I should.

There’s No Theology Like Reformed Theology

This amazing ad came in the “Dollars and Sense” mailer last week. Comments very welcome.

What Would You Ask Mitt Romney?

Now that he’s the Republican candidate, Romney’s Mormonism is on the table. I’ve been critical of the LDS Church, and will continue to be. In fact, my response to Jake Tapper’s question wouldn’t have been much different from Rick Warren’s on Sunday. LDS teaching on the Trinity is more than a “sticking point” for me. Their Christology is also suspect.

At RealClearReligion, Jeff Weiss has seven questions that he, as a religion reporter, would like to ask Romney about LDS teaching. Here are the first two:

1) LDS teaching about gender: “All human beings — male and female — are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

Has this teaching informed Gov. Romney’s thinking about homosexual rights generally or gay marriage specifically?

2) LDS teaching about the role of men and women in families: “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

Has this teaching informed his thinking about the rights of women, tax breaks for families, or other family-related legislation?

Read Questions 3-7 at RealClearReligion – 7 Questions for Mitt About Mormonism.


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