The pickets from NOW showed up a couple of weeks ago at the marathon custody proceedings that pit one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, Ronald Perelman, against one of the most beautiful and well-connected women, his former wife Patricia Duff. (I am one of those connections; our paths have crossed many times, most recently at a White House dinner, after which she sent me some of the papers from these proceedings.)

Before feminist law reform changed the rules, it would have been a slam dunk for Duff. Mothers won custody battles, unless they were unfit, which no one is even suggesting here. But these days, thanks in large part to the efforts of the NOW Legal Defense Fund and other women’s organizations, fathers have equal rights, and Perelman is asserting his, with the vigor that comes when money is no object and ego is involved. The proceedings are open to the press, at the request of Duff’s former lawyers, and the transcript would be almost laughable, if a four year-old girl’s future weren’t at stake.

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