BREMERTON, Wash. - A Michigan state senator has just joined the fight on behalf of a sailor based in Bremerton who's fighting to keep custody of his child while he's out at sea. This happened as protestors took to the streets in a nationwide effort to fight for the sailor while he's away.
Demonstrators in Adrian, Michigan are asking a judge to wait for a sailor to return to home before proceeding with a custody case. Matt Hindes is stationed aboard the submarine USS Michigan, now far out in the Pacific, and can't be in court Monday to argue to keep custody of his 6-year-old daughter Kaylee.
She's being cared for by Benita, Hinde's wife of four years, and her extended family in Bremerton.
Michigan Circuit Court Judge Margaret Noe has ordered Hindes to appear in court Monday with Kaylee, or face a bench warrant for his arrest. His attorneys argue he's protected by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act which gives a least a 90-day delay for those who are deployed.
"I'm going to show him that he's got support here in Michigan," protest organizer Amie Finkbiner said.
KOMO News put Kaylee and Benita in touch with Finkbiner by phone. "Thank you for everything you're doing," Kaylee told Finkbiner.
A bigger protest is planned for Monday morning, brought together after the public first learned of Hindes' situation on Tuesday.
"It's everybody through social media, you guys at KOMO and Good Morning America, and everybody who's come forward to share our story," Benita said.
Benita originally was going to fly Kaylee to the court appearance the weekend of June 20, but their attorneys advised her not to travel in the belief the judge will grant the delay.
Michigan state Senator Rick Jones is drafting state legislation to give servicemembers that protection.
"The actions of this judge are a slap in the face to all servicemen and women, who put their lives on the line protecting America," said Jones.