African American Civil Rights Leader Praises Texas Shared Parenting Bill

Published 12:04 pm Monday, April 12, 2021

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Fulshear, Texas — Today, Rev. William Owens, activist and civil rights leader, urged the Texas Legislature to hear and pass a bill that would help the children of divorce – especially underprivileged and minority children – keep the benefits of two involved parents..

Owens, who is best known as the author of A Dream Derailed: How the Left Hijacked Civil Rights to Create a Permanent Underclass and the founder of the Coalition of African American Pastors, spoke out in favor of HB803, the Texas “shared parenting” bill, asking Rep. Victoria Neave, Chairwoman of the Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee, to give the bill a hearing.

Currently, Texas custody laws operate on a presumption that favors the mother as the custodial parent. HB803 would replace this with a presumption in favor of shared parenting, except in cases where one parent is unfit. As Rev. Owens explained, it is an issue that especially affects minority and low-income families.

“The sad fact is that most families don’t have the money or time to litigate extensive custody arrangements,” said Rev. Owens. “That means that for most families – especially low-income and minority families – the default solution is one in which the children grow up in a single parent home and the other parent, usually the father, is little more than a weekend visitor.”

“Decades of social science have proven that this is a terrible approach for everyone involved. Fathers are cut out of their children’s lives. Mothers have to bear the burden and pressure of filling both parental roles. And children fare worst of all. The data shows that children who grow up in single parent homes have higher incidences of drug abuse, mental illness, alcoholism, behavioral issues, teen pregnancy, and suicide,” continued Rev. Owens.

“Passing HB803 would bring more equity to the law, but more than that, it would benefit thousands of minority and disadvantaged children. The simple fact is that children do better when they have two active and involved parents. This bill would help make divorce far less harmful to our children,” Rev. Owens concluded.