The Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Non-Parenthood (NON) sought equal time with its child-rearing counterparts yesterday when it named Carol and Stuart Shapiro its non-parents of the year.
"It seemed to me... most appropriate that some time be set aside for all of us who formerly had to hang our heads when Mother's Day and Father's Day rolled around," Stewart R. Mott, millionnaire philanthropist and 1973 Non-Father of the Year, explained.
Mott, a 36-year-old bachelor, spoke briefly before the awards presentation in Boston. "When I won the award, I decided I had two obligations: not to procreate during 12 months, and to learn more about the organization," Mott said.
Stephen A. Keese, president of the Massachusetts chapter of NON, crowned the couple and presented them honorary certificates. "We present these certificates in recognition of your choice of a child-free life style," Keese said.
The Shapiros, who reside in Brookline, have been married for seven years. "As time goes by, it seems that a child isn't a necessity," said Carolyn Shapiro, an artist and art teacher in the Newton school system.
Her husband, a physician and radiology resident at the Massachusetts General Hospital, later emphasized the parental right of choice. "We are not against those who want to have children," Shapiro said. "We merely want the validate the equality of choice. We're opposed to people who have children for the wrong reasons or for no reasons at all."
Shapiro received a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health last year.
NON was formed two years ago to eliminate cultural bias against non-parents and to render support for couples pressured because of their non-parenthood. The organization currently has a membership of 2000 and one-third of the members are parents of at least one child.
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