Organizers and concerned Hi-Line residents gathered on Town Square Friday evening to talk about the state of American or Montanan families and the rights of parents.
The event brought together representatives of the Montana Family Foundation and local supporters to talk about modern assaults on family values and the solutions being proposed at several levels.
Jeff Laszloffy, a former state representative from Laurel and current president of the Montana Family Foundation, came to Havre to speak at the event about the battle over the family’s three fronts: marriage, parental rights and finance.
“There’s an active effort to redefine marriage to whatever anyone wants it to be,” Laszloffy said afterward, of the first problem. “Statistically, children do best when raised by their biological parents. When you deviate from that, the results go down.”
On parental rights, Laszloffy said his organization is concerned about the government’s role in children’s lives getting too large. He specifically cited the controversy in the Helena Public Schools a few years ago, when the administration made some unpopular changes to their sexual education curriculum.
“The government is putting itself between parents and children,” Laszloffy said. “But the government doesn’t love children as much as parents do.”
Kathy Sangray, a Havre mother of two, also spoke at the event on the importance of parental rights, encouraging listeners to demand support from their senators for Resolution 49, proposing a constitutional amendment to write parents’ rights in stone.
“Currently before congress is the Parental Rights Amendment which would explicitly define the liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children as a fundamental right,” Sangray said. “Believe it or not, this right is not expressly stated in our Constitution, but is only an implied right. This shortcoming in our Constitution has led to the erosion of parental rights by court decisions and international law.”
According to an email, Sangray is worried about “1) how domestic court cases are undermining the rights of fit parents, 2) the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC) and how, if ratified, it can override nearly all federal and state family law, and 3) how 'customary international law' can be cited to overrule federal and state family law, even if we do not ratify the UNCRC.”
On the last point, finance, Laszloffy said that government spending needs to get under control, but parents need to take responsibility themselves.
“We as parents have been irresponsible,” Laszloffy said. “You can’t always point your finger at the government. We need to do better in our individual lives.
“There’s a lot of improvement in how families operate, but we can’t just be satisfied with pointing the finger at the government and blame the government.”
Laszloffy also spoke of the cooperation and understanding his organization received from Hill County’s state representatives, Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, and Kris Hansen, R-Havre, and then-Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, during his short tenure, during their time in office so far.