Friday, March 25, 2005

Military Dads Denied Father's Rights

Military Dads Denied Father's Rights - Wendy McElroy

Excerpts below:

Sean may never hear that lullaby again, not because his father Gary died but because Sean's mother relocated him to Israel. She visited family there during one of Gary's re-deployments and simply stayed, seeking a divorce from abroad.

"I am paying $2,100 a month not to see my son," Gary told Fox News in 2003.

This is the new face of father's rights, a face men's rights activists are determined you will see in coming months: the military man who is 'processed' by the family courts during his tour of duty or upon his return. A father who returns 'home' to children he cannot see and, often, to support payments he cannot make.

"Sometimes I wonder what I risked my life for [in Afghanistan]," Gary told fathers' rights activist Glenn Sacks. I went to fight for freedom but what freedom and what rights mean anything if a man doesn't have the right to be a father to his own child?"

The grassroots organization American Coalition of Fathers and Children has just launched a vigorous ad campaign to educate the public on how anti-father bias in the courts is destroying the family. An ad currently being prepared by the ACFC highlights the dilemma of military dads who are victimized by zero-tolerance and unreasonable legislation that was passed to deal with "deadbeats."

An indication of how strong the public backlash might be came in the early '90s with the Bobby Sherrill case. Sherrill wasn't a member of the military proper; he was a Lockheed employee and divorced father working in Kuwait when Iraq invaded.

Sherrill was held captive by the Iraqis for five months. Upon his return to North Carolina, he was arrested for non-payment of $1,425 in child support that accrued while he was a hostage.

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