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Amendment would shield parents from government interference while raising children

A change to the state Constitution is in the works in the Alabama House of Representatives.

State Rep. Kenneth Paschal said Wednesday he is sponsoring a constitutional amendment that will recognize and protect the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, education, care, and control of their children.

“During the 2023 legislative session, I successfully passed a law formally recognizing parental rights as fundamental, but state laws can be repealed,” Paschal (R-Pelham) said. “By passing and ratifying a state constitutional amendment that addresses the rights of parents to care for their children without undue interference from the government, we can safeguard these fundamental liberties for decades to come.”

Paschal discussed the importance of the new amendment, particularly in today’s society.

“The Constitution functions as a mechanism to enhance the authority of individuals in governing the government rather than restricting their influence,” Paschal said. “It is of paramount significance for parents who reside within our state to possess a profound sense of confidence that, irrespective of any alterations in the federal government’s interpretation of parental rights, their capacity to guide and support the growth of their children is both valued and protected within the legal boundaries of our jurisdiction.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who has also been a major advocate for increased parental rights, supported the proposed amendment.

”I express my wholehearted endorsement for the proposed amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 2022, which provides that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education, care, and control of their children,” Marshall said. “Since its founding, our nation has realized the fundamental rights of parents to direct the care and custody of their children, and courts have recognized those rights in several important decisions.

“By explicitly incorporating parental rights into Alabama’s constitutional framework, Alabama aims to solidify its commitment to these principles and ensure their protection for future generations.”

According to Paschal, the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes parental rights through its interpretation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. However, they are not specifically outlined in Alabama’s Constitution.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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