In the 2019 Texas legislative session, Texas Home School Coalition is seeking to pass the Family Unity Act to restore family freedoms which the courts have eroded over the past decades.
Here’s what you need to know.
From 1923 to 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) affirmed in 15 cases the fundamental right to raise your own child under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. While it seems obvious that lower courts should follow SCOTUS case law, the Texas Family Code does not explicitly recognize these lesser-known rulings. When determining the “best interest” of a child, Texas judges lack clear direction. That is why THSC has drafted the Family Unity Act to amend the Texas Family Code.
Condensing 100 Years of Case Law
THSC started working on the Family Unity Act during the 2017 legislative session. This bill has a simple purpose: integrate case law from the SCOTUS and the Texas Supreme Court into the Texas Family Code.
The Family Unity Act would make the following amendments to the Texas Family Code:
- Establish that “the fundamental right of parents to raise their children includes but is not limited to the right to direct the care, custody, control, nurture, education, upbringing, moral and religious training, and health care of their child.”
- Establish the presumptions that parents are fit and that fit parents act in the best interest of their own children.
- Provide direction to judges when they must decide the “fitness” of a parent.
- Establish proper standards of review when the government interferes with private family matters:
- The state agency that intervenes must prove that doing so is essential to furthering a compelling government interest.
- In addition, the state must also convince the court that they are pursuing an outcome using the most “narrowly tailored” (minimally invasive) solution possible.
- Prevent judges from overriding parental decisions with which they simply disagree.
THSC believes that the Texas Family Code must be reformed to reflect Supreme Court precedent and provide judges with clear guidance. If you agree with our proposals, we invite you to visit our Legislative Action Center and sign up for key action alerts regarding the Family Unity Act.
You may also text “TXHOMESCHOOL” to 67076 to receive legislative alerts!
Working to pass the Family Unity Act is one of the ways that THSC is Keeping Texas Families Free!