Federal Civil Rights: Family Law

Family Rights are Civil Rights and therefore Federal Issues

The Supreme Court has said and upheld many times that marriage is one of the basic civil rights of man and that the individual parental right to establish a home and bring up children is a liberty interest protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

  • The federal government has power over civil rights issues.
  • The federal government is specifically empowered under the 14th Amendment to enforce the amendment against the states.
  • The federal government has a long track record of exercising this federal power to protect people of color from discrimination based on that color.

We demand that our civil rights as parents receive federal congressional protection as well.

  • Many US Congressmen and Senators will lie to you saying that family law is a state issue only.
  • They will say they can do nothing.

Ask them if your rights as a parent are civil rights? Show them this:

The Court has frequently emphasized the importance of the family. The rights to conceive and to raise one's children have been deemed "essential," ... "basic civil rights of man," ... and "rights far more precious ... than property rights," ... "It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder." ... The integrity of the family unit has found protection in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, ... the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, ... and the Ninth Amendment... —U.S. Supreme Court, Stanley v. Illinois, 1972

Ask them if the Congress is specifically authorized by the 14th Amendment to create statutes to enforce the 14th Amendment? Show them this:

The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. —Section 5, Fourteenth Amendment

Ask them if the idea that "family law is a traditional state issue" allows the state courts and state legislatures to violate constitutional guarantees? Show them this:

Like choices concerning ... family relationships ... and childrearing ... are protected by the Constitution ... are among the most intimate that an individual can make... Of course, the Constitution contemplates that democracy is the appropriate process for change, so long as that process does not abridge fundamental rights... “the freedom secured by the Constitution consists... of the right of the individual not to be injured by the unlawful exercise of governmental power.” ... This holds true even when protecting individual rights affects issues of the utmost importance and sensitivity. —U.S. Supreme Court, Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015

The argument was made in Obergefell v. Hodges, the same sex marriage case, that marriage is a matter of family law reserved to the states just as divorce and child custody is. The Court responded by citing many long-standing cases and clarifying once again the core concept that states may not violate the constitution in marriage and family law issues. (You don't have to like same sex marriage to benefit from this opinion. It protects the rights of straight white conservative males to their children in divorce just as much as it protects the rights of same sex couples to marry.)

States have had a very long history of discriminating against same sex couples. That history didn't save the states.

States have had a very long history of discriminating against divorced parents. That history will NOT save the states.

You can make a difference and help get federal protections:

  • Tell your representative that you want to speak with them about specific federal civil rights issues affecting families.
  • Tell them you are looking for federal protection of your civil rights against state action as authorized by the 14th Amendment.
  • Tell them you want specific changes and additions to federal civil rights legislation to curtail ongoing civil rights violations by states against parents and their children.
  • Tell them you want specific procedural protections for family rights written into every federal statute that encourages states to limit the rights of families.

Existing Statutes to Amend

The links below take you to specific federal statutes that already impact state family law issues. These federal statutes encourage states to violate federal fundamental family rights and this must immediately change. Additionally, these codes provide procedural protections for the federal government but fail to provide any procedural protections for families. We are proposing that additional statutes be enacted to provide procedural protection for family rights. Tell your Congressman that you want them to propose and/or support the following legislative changes:


42 USC 2000bb-2 - Definitions

42 USC 2000bb–3 – Applicability


New Statutes to be Added

The links below take you to statutes that do not yet exist but should exist to protect families. Tell your Congressman that you want them to propose and/or support the following proposed legislation.

42 U.S. Code Chapter 21 – Subchapter 1-B. FAMILY RIGHTS (§§ 1998)


New Constitutional Amendment to be Added

The link below takes you to a proposed constitutional amendment that should be proposed and ratified. Tell your Congressman that you want them to propose and/or support the following constitutional amendment to the federal constitution.

The 28th Amendment Protecting Parent Child Bonds

About Ron & Sherry Palmer

logo with ron and sherry pictureRon B Palmer and Sherry L Palmer through their company, Fix Family Courts, are dedicated to enforcing respect for the individual private rights of parents and their children to form and maintain a constitutionally protected private family unit from all unwarranted government interference regardless of the marital status of the children’s parents to each other and regardless of any changes in this marital status. We are more than happy to speak to your Representative or his/her immediate staff directly, on a pro bono basis, to discuss any specific concerns they may have regarding this specific legislation or the source of the constitutional rights this legislation protects. Contact Us Here.

Ron and Sherry are constitutional scholars in family law and political consultants in family law who are happy to consult with you or your organization on a fee for service basis to help further protection of family rights for parents and children. Contact Us Here.