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HB 148

Among many Utah citizens, I encouraged Governor Huntsman to veto HB148 - the so-called “Parent and Child Amendments”, in a letter dated March 19, 2006. He did veto it, on March 21, 2006.

Here’s my letter --

Governor Huntsman:

As a private citizen I urge you to veto HB 148.

The bill sweeps too broadly: it can be used to destroy a bond between child and step-parent. Two undesirable consequences: children in “melded” families face separation from the only parent they may have known; and new spouses of “natural” parents might be less able or willing to support step-children emotionally, hard for both adult and child. Aunts and uncles, too, might be less willing to extend love and affection to children who could be ripped away on the whim of a “parent” who takes a “sudden interest” after a few years’ absence (for whatever cause).

This bad public policy destroys an age-old principle of the common law. The “welfare of [a] minor child” is primary in a custody dispute and ought not be dictated by broad-sweeping legislation that gives no consideration to individual circumstances.

Biology is not the sole determinant of parenthood; it should not be decreed to be so.

Veto HB 148.


W. Paul Wharton