Equal Parents' Week Statements:

Senator Raymond N. Haynes, Vice Chairman, Committees: Education, Health & Human Services, Judiciary 36th District, California State Senate "It is essential that both parents be equally recognized in the rearing of their children. The breakdown in our judicial system must be reformed. Fairness must be brought into play, so both parents are equally responsible for participating in their children's upbringing. There is a great inequity in the current system. We must remember that the 'noncustodial parent' is still a parent, and not just a source of child support. Numerous studies have shown that children who have equal access to both parents fare better in life than those raised by single parents. We need only look at the current situation in our juvenile justice system to realize this is true."

Senator John R. Lewis, Vice Chairman, Rules Committee, 33rd District, California State Senate "While the divoce of married parents must, by definition, greatly disrupt the family, it need not destroy it. Yet too many times the courts place the noncustodial parent at far too great a legal distance from the children. Current California law discriminates shamelessly against noncustodial parents to the detriment of parent and child alike. In California, noncustodial parents are often second-class citizens and are not considered 'real' parents by the custodial parents, the courts, or sometimes by their own children. This must change. And will change. There is a strong moral imperative for change.

Equal Parents' Week provides an opportunity to recognize the importance of truly equal parenting with all that implies...to enforce the 'joint' in joint custody and make the term real, not just lip service. I commend every Californian to investigate the issues surrounding post-divorce parenting so that this state's children may benefit from proper custodial and child support reform."

Bill Morrow, Vice-Chairman, Assembly Judiciary Committee, Assemblyman, 73rd District "It is critical that parents act with respect towards each other when exercising their parental rights and responsibilities. Kids need both parents in their lives, whenever possible, and children should never feel they have to choose between one parent or another. I strongly believe a [nationwide] week of focus on the inequities and barriers suffered by noncustodial parents with respect to exercising their parental rights will be tremendous benefit to millions of innocent victims--namely the children of divorced parents."

Rod Pacheco, Vice-Chairman, Committee on Education, Assemblyman, 64th District, California State Assembly "'Equal Parents' Week' supports the importance of both parents playing an integral role in their children's lives, enabling them to achieve equal rights and responsibility. Civil rights for parents and children should never be taken for granted in our society."

Fred Aguiar, Vice-Chairman, Rules Committee, Assemblyman, 61st District, California State Assembly "COPS (Coalition of Parent Support, Inc.) has made the greatest impression upon me by maintaining its focus on the goal of protecting the well being of children. I firmly believe that events such as Equal Parents' Week will increase awareness and focus discussions in our communities upon ways in which we can build supportive families and better the lives of our children."

Bill Leonard, Vice-Chairman, Utilities and Commerce Committee, Assemblyman, 63rd District, California State Assembly "I share COPS' commitment to a system of family law that promotes equal rights for all parents. Children benefit from intact families, but where that is not possible, it is important for the children to enjoy solid relationships with both their mother and father. Both parents should be emotionally, physically, socially, and financially involved in their children's lives. Equal Parents' Week is a tremendous opportunity for people to learn about the problems created when families break up. It is my hope that your event succeeds in educating the public and in working toward a fair, equitable family law system."

Senator Cathie Wright, Vice-Chairman, Budget and Fiscal Review and Toxics/Public Safety Management Committees, 19th District, California State Senate "It is a pleasure and an honor for me to acknowledge Equal Parents' Week, a nationwide event to recognize the contributions, the rights and responsibilities of noncustodial parents. It is important that we as a society acknowledge and protect the rights of the noncustodial parent just as we protect those of the custodial parent and the child. Our justice system should not discriminate against men in divorce cases any more than it should discriminate against women in civil cases. My primary focus when reviewing legislation in this area of the law is what is in the best interests of the children. Certainly the love and support of two parents, regardless of their marital status, is better for a child than one."

James F. Battin, Assemblyman, 80th District, California State Assembly "The members of the Coalition of Parent Support strive for inclusion of the noncustodial parent in the child's life. A child needs the love and support of both parents, especially during a time of change, or trauma. By seeking involvement in their children's lives, COPS members are setting a good example to many parents who actually choose to be delinquent in their roles as parents. I believe that a child's life is enhanced when both parents are able to take responsibility and participate in that child's life positively."

Robert Chandler, President, Coalition of Parent Support, (209) 575-4361 "The Coalition of Parent Support enthusiastically endorses the philosophy and principles of Equal Parents' Week. It is our most fervent desire that this event will plant the seeds that will prosper and grow into the realization tht children, our most precious resource, can only develop into healthy, happy and productive citizens when they have the benefit of a mother and a father. Our children have the right to count on this benefit-- not just for a day or for a week, but throughout their lives. In the eyes of a child, mother and father are inseparable, essential, and equal. We as a society must begin to honor our children more than we honor selfish interests. Equal Parents' Week is an important and profound step in that direction."

David Levy, National President, National Children's Rights Council (CRC), (202) 547-6227 The national CRC and its chapters join CRCC (Children's Rights Council California) in urging individuals throughout California and the country to tie and wear purple ribbons to signify their support for Equal Parents Week. When you tie a purple ribbon on your car, a tree, or elsewhere, or wear a purple ribbon july 28 through August 3, 1997, and people ask you why you are doing that, explain that EVERY CHILD IS ENTITLED TO TWO PARENTS and you are supporting EQUAL PARENTS' WEEK."

Wil Brown, President, Childrens's Rights Council, California, (916) 446-4654 "The Children's Rights Council believes that children have a right to both parents! Children should not have to lose a parent because of the separation or divorce of their parents. Our mission is best described by our motto 'The Best Parent is Both Parents.'"

Belinda Rollins, President, National Parents' Day Coalition, (301) 386-5718 "The National Parents' Day Coalition is pleased to support Equal Parents' Week. You are to be commended on your efforts to focus attention on the need for equal rights for all parents. We are especially pleased that you have chosen to declare this week immediately following National Parents' Day."

For further information please contact Equal Parents Coordinator Patti Diroff, (909) 591-3689.