Equal Parenting Crusade Continues


A small room has the potential to spawn widespread support. Just ask Mark Bitara.

"You'd be surprised at the amount of support that people give to the cause," he said.

For Bitara, it was a small street corner that was the first home to his campaign. After a divorce, a judge in Walker County gave his ex-wife primary custody of their children. A few hours every week is all Bitara gets with his kids.

"If nobody can prove the father -- or the mother in some cases -- unfit, then there should be no deviation, that children should spend equal time with their mother and father," Bitara said.

"The government we have can only be responsive to us if we give it something to be responsive to," said Jim Loose.

Loose is the chairman of People for Equal Parenting. As many states amend their constitutions to allow equal custody, Loose and Bitara want Texas to do the same. Tuesday's town hall meeting in Huntsville served to encourage concerned Texans to write their representatives and educate themselves on what Loose calls an unconstitutional discrimination against good parents.

"We have this kind of group show up almost spontaneously and go away with a commitment to communicate with their elected leaders," Loose said.

He believes a ground swell of support could cause change in Texas in the next two years. It's a change Bitara will welcome.

"I think it's just a matter of time before Texas takes the same kind of law," Bitara said.

Bitara's research shows 90 percent of divorced fathers have less than full custody of their children. He also cites pathology studies that show children who don't see their fathers often are more likely to grow up troubled.


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