In an unprecedented landslide, Fathers and Families” 2004 ballot measure for joint physical custody of children passed by an 86-14% margin. The lopsided margin of victory was greater than that of any elected official in Massachusetts, including John Kerry, Barney Frank, or Jim McGovern. The question passed in all legislative districts where it was on the ballot
Abstention rates on the ballot question were low—in many districts, our ballot question received more positive votes than the winning legislative candidate. Our margin of victory was far greater than almost any other ballot question, including Legalization of Marijuana, Patriot Act, Fair Elections reform, etc.
We now have the researchers and the voters in agreement that children need both parents. This is our opportunity to push our shared parenting legislation to victory in Massachusetts.
In the early summer of 2004 Fathers and Families completed a large-scale effort to get a shared-parenting public policy question on the November ballot for numerous Senate and Representative districts in the Commonwealth.
The wording of the question in most of the Representative Districts and the Senatorial district was as follows:
Shall the State Representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation requiring that in all separation and divorce proceedings involving minor children, the court shall uphold the fundamental rights of both parents to the shared physical and legal custody of their children and the children”s right to maximize their time with each parent, so far as is practical, unless one parent is found unfit or the parents agree otherwise, subject to the requirements of existing child support and abuse prevention laws?
In five western districts the wording was:
Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote for legislation to create a strong presumption in child custody cases in favor of joint physical and legal custody, so that the court will order that the children have equal access to both parents as much as possible, except where there is clear and convincing evidence that one parent is unfit, or that joint custody is not possible through no fault of one of the parents?
For the final results for our ballot measure, please see the Boston Globe Ballot Election Results here.