NEWS ROOM

HB343 Erodes parents' rights, gives minors of all ages the right to name their guardian for religious reasons

February 23, 2018

In the 2018 Utah Legislative Session, a bill was introduced to change the definition of abuse in cases where minor children are able to be harbored by 3rd parties.  The bill erodes parents rights.  It gives a minor of any age the ability to name their own legal guardian if they're unhappy with their parents and if the parents are members of a religion suspected to believe in polygamy.

DCCS Press Release:

The DCCS unequivocally condemns forced marriages.  It is a violation of Free Agency, a fundamental tenant of our belief.

The DCCS encourages all our members to marry within the legal age of consent.

We encourage any individuals facing an abusive situation to seek help from an impartial source that is interested in the well-being of the victim or potential victim.

For more than a decade, the DCCS has diligently worked very closely with State social services and the juvenile judicial system to create impartial relationships that are in the best interest of the people we serve.  HB 343 is a step backwards for the following reasons:

 

HB 343:

-         It adds a vaguely worded definition of abuse where any parent of any religion who suggests a future marriage could be defined as abusive.

-         It elevates a child’s right to choose to stay with a friend above that of their parents’ rights which opens up the possibility of affecting all parental rights.

-         Its vague wording opens up the State to federal challenges of Constitutionality.

-         It does NOT add any additional protection for actual or potential victims of abuse above those already affording by existing statute.

 

Some of the sponsors and advocates of this bill have openly targeted the parental rights of a specific religions under the guise of protection.

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