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NCFM Arizona Chapter President Rich Cassalata, M.Ed, helps bring like-minded groups together

August 26, 2014
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By Richard Cassalata M.Ed., ABD

ncfmMen’s Rights Groups in Arizona? Several Growing and Politically Active Men’s Rights Organizations Now on the March!

When we think about men or father’s rights groups we often think about mainstream organizations such as the National Coalition for Men, A Voice For Men, Honeybadgers, a Shrink4Men and other major organizations. These organizations often lead the charge for men’s rights activism and debate the issues of the day. Even fewer organizations, including the National Coalition for Men, take active steps to ensure men, father and family friendly legislation is supported within our many state governments. The National Coalition For Men often focuses on legislation that could be harmful to men, families and students in a variety of social issues. NCFM often takes steps to ensure wrongheaded legislation is not passed in the name of “gender justice” when possible. Readers on this page know how the state of California constructs laws to benefit only a certain aspect of the population (women) at the expense of others (Men). Right now, California Senate Bill 967 is being pushed by feminist groups denies due process to college students accused of sexual assault is a prime example of bias legislation that NCFM is trying to stop.

Surprisingly, not only are larger, so-called mainstream men’s rights organizations are fighting these battles but many smaller, grassroots organizations have emerged in the last few years. In fact, Arizona has become such a hotbed for men’s rights activism that several groups have sprung up out of nowhere. Each of these men’s rights and father’s groups were formed independently from one another and each has a very strong core group of supporters focusing on different issues. In the last three years, four organizations have emerged to combat California style laws that are clearly harmful to fathers, families and children within Arizona. These groups include the National Coalition for Men – Arizona, Men’s Rights Group of Arizona (www.mensrightsofarizona.com ), Arizona Fathers Rights (www.arizonafathersrights.com) and Arizona Children and Families Foundation (www.azcff.com ) and two other men’s rights organizations in the process of forming.

On August 23rd, these organizations came together for a brainstorming meeting to combat new legislation already submitted to the Arizona Senate for the upcoming 2015 legislative session. In this meeting, for which NCFM-Arizona was a major player, we discussed several anti-family and feminist leaning organizations that appear hell-bent to pass a California version of primary aggressor laws in domestic violence cases. These new laws will make it mandatory for police to make an arrest when responding to any domestic violence call. Other legislation being pushed goes even further and if passed, will force responding officers to make an arrest for domestic violence even when no evidence was found. In essence, these get tough on domestic violence laws are nothing more than a way to circumnavigate Arizona divorce law. Not surprisingly, there is a hidden agenda for passing these laws. This “not so hidden” agenda stems from legislation that several emerging father’s rights organizations push for and won in 2012.

Many of you may not be aware of the new divorce laws that took effect in Arizona beginning in January 1, 2013. Due to a few grassroots men’s rights and family rights organizations, a new set of divorce laws were passed granting fathers nearly equal split (50/50) of parenting time with mothers. Therefore, child support being paid to the mothers in these divorce cases have dropped drastically since these awards are based upon parenting time each parent receives with his or her children. Essentially, the average child support award is drastically smaller as compared to previous years were fathers had very little parenting time and therefore had to pay substantially higher child support awards. In fact, when this law was passed January 1, 2013 and with strict Arizona alimony laws, it was getting harder for divorcing mothers to take advantage of the system by fleecing their ex-husbands of substantial child support awards.

Now, feminist groups who see this change in Arizona as a threat to mother’s financial stability are now fighting back with everything in their arsenal. Instead of attacking this new law directly since it has been proven to be an absolute success, they are circumnavigating the divorce law and are trying to get as many men charged for domestic violence as possible. The new divorce laws passed in 2012 to give fathers more rights and parenting time with their children came with one small stipulation. If the father was charged or convicted of domestic violence then the mother would be automatically granted sole custody of the children with the father receiving very little parenting time and in some cases visitation would have to be supervised. Therefore, as a last ditch effort to circumnavigate Arizona’s new divorce laws, feminist groups have been trying to punch holes in father’s newfound rights by making it easier for women who falsely report domestic violence to be granted custody of the children and a soon to be ex-partner is arrested. It’s not like if we did not see this coming but our challenge is now before us. With Arizona’s emerging grassroots, men’s rights organizations leading the charge against California style divorce and domestic violence laws we actually have a chance to defeat feminist legislation before these bills have a chance of making it into law.

The first ever statewide men’s rights group meeting in Arizona was a complete success. We formed a strategy on how to defeat these bills and pushed legislation of our own to protect our hard fought gains. It also appears that we will have a part-time lobbyist who will volunteer his time to fight for father’s and families issues. Even more importantly, it was agreed that we would provide mutual support to ensure wrongheaded legislation never makes it onto the legislative floor. In fact, there was so much to this meeting that was positive I cannot share it all with you in this brief article but I can tell you this…

These grassroots men’s rights organizations throughout Arizona are here to stay. We have become much more powerful and organized than ever before. Knowing that we (I am also the Director for the Men’s Rights Group of Arizona) had such startling success in 2012, we finally know that we can win. Not only can we win, we can win big! Along the way, we have made many allies in both the House and Senate who shares our common view of “equality” in divorce and domestic violence cases. I have no doubt that in the years to come we in Arizona will continue to fight feminist legislation that is harmful to families, children and fathers. Today, Arizona is a shining example of how grassroots men’s rights organizations can only take hold but become major players in state politics.

Richard Cassalata M.Ed., ABD
NCFM-Arizona
Chapter Coordinator
Director,
Men’s Rights Group of Arizona
www.mensrightsofarizona.com
Author

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