Blast from the Past: 85% Voted for JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY (in Mass)


Do you remember the vote?  Did you ever even hear about the vote?

I would hazard a guess that the answer is “Probably not”.  That guess would be because the press didn’t ever talk about the vote very much.  Have you ever noticed that the press doesn’t like talking about fathers issues very much?

We have.  Sometimes the silence is close to deafening.

Such as when Thomas Ball committed suicide on the steps of the court house in

“A man walks up to the main door of the Keene N.H. County Courthouse, douses himself with gasoline and lights a match. 

And everyone wants to know why,”
Start of Thomas James Ball’s 10,611 word suicide note – Holden, Mass  Keene (county) suicide saw jail in his future” Jun 17, 2011 by the

So, please say a special prayer of remembrance for Thomas Ball and his children. A divorce/custody case should never reach such a tragic end.  For a child to thrive, BOTH parents must be able to survive and thrive.

Back to the Shared Parenting vote.

On November 2nd, 2004, the Fatherhood groups in Mass. got the following question put before the States voters in 37 districts across Mass.

“Shall the State Representative (or State Senator) 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?


Back to the Shared Parenting vote.  What was the outcome of this vote?

85% of the people voted in favor of this resolution.

Here is the statement from Ned Holstein, then President of Fathers and Families of Massachusetts.

“In an unprecedented landslide, approximately 85% voted for joint physical custody of children on Fathers & Families’ non-binding ballot question. 

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 37 legislative districts, representing about 1/4 of the state’s electorate. In most the margin of victory was greater than 80% and averaged about 85%. In more than half the 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 (legalization of marijuana, Patriot Act, Fair Elections, etc.). 

More than 600,000 Massachusetts citizens voted on our non-binding ballot question, representing every area of the state, every ethnic group and every social class. 

In 19 of the 29 districts in which there also was an election for the legislative seat, we received more votes than the winning candidate. 

In many of the towns in which our petition was on the ballot, various women’s groups and domestic violence groups opposed these petitions, but without seeming impact on the outcome. 

The fact that our question was on the ballot in more than double the number of districts of any recent ballot petition adds to the significance of the actual vote.

Remember this vote.  The people want Shared Parenting.  The people expect Shared Parenting.  The opposition is actually a very small minority – but a minority currently in the position of power.

The Chairman of The Fatherhood Coalition, Michael P. O’Neil had this to say in their February 2005 For the Record.

“This is the reality of divorce in the progressive state of Massachusetts in the enlightened year 2005: 

One day a father is helping his son and daughter with their homework and tucks them into bed. The next day finds him standing like a common criminal in front of an uncaring, unaccountable judge who tells him he can only see his God-given children every other weekend and a few hours on Wednesdays. 

All too often, without a father’s guidance and presence, these children start using drugs, become alienated and victims of abuse, require counseling, drop out of school, and turn to crime. Because of the momentous popular demand for shared parenting legislation, however, 2005 should be the year that injustice ends and sanity returns to divorce in Massachusetts. The people have spoken and now CPF/The Fatherhood Coalition will make sure the ruling elite and the legislature get the message. 

The people of Massachusetts have had enough of our deplorable, winner-take-all torture called divorce. In the Probate courts, fathers—who would lay down their lives for their children—are told that it is in the best interest of their children if they have no meaningful role in their lives. Our gender-biased courts routinely accept false and unproven allegations of abuse to deprive fathers of custody. Second wives,mothers, and sisters become heartbroken as they watch their family member and his children destroyed by the divorce industry. Countless grandparents are unable to ever see their grandchildren again. 

Husbands are pitted against wives, and children against parents in a contentious racket that enriches lawyers, judges, guardians ad litum, psychologists and social workers. The life savings of the divorcing parents are siphoned off by these vultures who derive their livelihoods from our children’s misery. It is not surprising that these entrenched “child experts” are opposed to legislation mandating the presumption of shared parenting in all divorces and separations. 

Unfortunately, it is also not surprising in Massachusetts to find the media and academic elite, many legislators, committee chairmen, party bosses, and business leaders ignoring the needs of our children and the desires of the voters. This ruling oligarchy kowtows to the extreme feminist ideology and the ill-gotten money train of the divorce courts. It is expected that they will ignore the results of the initiative petition, while they attempt to squash the meaningful shared parenting legislation filed for the upcoming advocates and the public. Therefore, today, the divorce/domestic abuse industry is hereby put on notice that the status quo of injustice to fathers and children is about to end. 

CPF has filed legislation and lobbied legislators, but we aren’t lawmakers or lobbyists. We are unpaid volunteers with real full-time jobs. We have written articles and debated shared parenting, but we aren’t debaters or journalists. 

We’re parents who’ve had our children kidnapped by the state. In fact, whether we should be deprived of our children isn’t even debatable, any more than a slave should have to debate why he shouldn’t be a slave. 

We fully expect and demand that never again will a father be denied his own children without due process of law; that fathers deserve at least the presumption of innocence which our courts routinely grant to common criminals; and that every parent is entitled to the love, care, and companionship of his or her children. We will settle for nothing less. 

And we are not going to continue begging, pleading or reasoning with the insensitive and greedy aristocracy that is destroying our children. We are prepared to act. An international civil disobedience/protest movement has emanated from England: Fathers-4-Justice. The “rising” has begun. Starting in 2005, it is no longer going to be “business as usual” for the courts and state-sponsored industries that profit from the War on Fatherhood in Massachusetts. – Michael P. O’Neil

Perhaps if the legislators had acted more on the will of the people, then Thomas James Ball would still be alive today.