That is exactly what happened a few weeks ago in Geneva. In observance of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the UN Human Rights Council recently adopted a resolution on the “Protection of the Family.”
This remarkable, family-affirming UN document recognizes:
• “that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children and that children, for the full and harmonious development of their personality, should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,”
• “that the family, as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community,”
• “that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
Perhaps even more significant than the language this resolution contains, is what it does not contain. The Human Rights Council rejected an amendment that has been adopted in other past UN documents, endorsing “various forms of the family.” This is an encouraging win for global support of the Natural Family based upon marriage between a man and a woman!
Not Everyone is Pleased
However, it seems that no good document goes unpunished. This resolution on the Protection of the Family has received a firestorm of criticism. Opponents claim that the countries who voted for the resolution “betrayed their responsibilities as members of the Council,” and describe the document as, “censorship,” “divisive,” “problematic,” “deeply flawed,” and “appalling.”
As Patrick Buckley, with the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) at Geneva, notes, “Rarely has a resolution been so vigorously resisted by anti-life and anti-family forces.”
For example, a Joint Statement opposing the resolution expresses concern that, “some states will seek to exploit it as a vehicle for promoting a narrow, exclusionary and patriarchal concept of ‘the family’” and “the family is also a setting in which human rights abuses sometimes take place.”
Others echo similar concerns that “it is within families that human rights abuses of individuals, in particular women and children, are often concealed.” Still others claim that the resolution is backwards and restrictive because “the pretext of ‘protecting the family’ has been, and is still, used to prevent women’s emancipation and deny gender equality.” Another UN observer called the resolution “an underhand way of justifying male oppression within the family.”
Such voices claim that the Natural Family based upon marriage between a man and a woman is the root of all abuse, discrimination, oppression to women and children across the globe.
Rest assured that these claims are wrong. While we recognize with abhorrence the abuse that does occur in some families, overall the safest, healthiest, happiest, most prosperous place in the world for women and children is the intact Natural Family. Here are a few examples:
• Research in 17 nations found that married men and women report significantly higher levels of happiness than unmarried people.”
• “U.S. and Canadian women in cohabiting relationships were nine times more likely to be killed by their partner than women in marital relationships.”
• “Compared to those who remained single, getting married increased one’s wealth, on average, by 93 percent.”
• Even feminist Gloria Steinem (upon marrying for the first time at age 66) acknowledged that, “Being married is like having somebody permanently in your corner, it feels limitless, not limited.”
Support for the Natural Family
That is why we support the UN resolution on the Protection of the Family. We applaud the courage of the 26 UN member States who, despite fierce opposition, approved this important UN document, and opposed the so-called “diversity amendment” validating “various forms of the family.”
Ironically, over half of the delegates who proposed this “diversity amendment” represent countries whose national constitutions explicitly recognize, honor, and protect the Natural Family. For example:
- GREECE: “The family, being the cornerstone of the preservation and the advancement of the Nation, as well as marriage, motherhood and childhood, shall be under the protection of the State.”
- IRELAND: “The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law. The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.”
- POLAND: “Marriage, being a union of a man and a woman, as well as the family, motherhood and parenthood, shall be placed under the protection and care of the Republic of Poland.”
These constitutions have it right!
United Families International commends the UN delegates who support their national constitutions–and any other document that protects the Natural Family–in spite of pressure, persecution, or punishment.
Laura Bunker is the President of United Families International