"The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization
known to history." —Will Durant
"The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society
and the State." —Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Family, the Foundation
"In the coming decades, success will accrue to those cultures that preserve the family’s
"Throughout the ages, political philosophers, social historians, and civic and religious leaders have praised
the family as the foundation of the social order, the bedrock of nations, and the bastion of civilization.... The fact is
that family is a universal and irreplaceable community, rooted in human nature and the basis for all societies at all times.
As the cradle of life and love for each new generation, the family is the primary source of personal identity, self-esteem,
and support for children. It is also the first and foremost school of life, uniquely suited to teach children integrity, character,
morals, responsibility, service, and wisdom.... The state's foremost obligation... is to respect, defend, and protect the
family as an institution."—Statement to UN General Assembly
Family in Peril
In 1948 when the newly minted United Nations issued its monumental
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the family was accorded a place of unique significance: "The family is the
natural and fundamental group unit of society and its entitled to protection by society and the State."
This was no new discovery, but affirmation of a reality as ancient
as humanity itself. "The family has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history,"
wrote world historian Will Durant. Later when Durant chose the top ten thinkers of all time, the list was headed by the revered
Chinese philosopher Confucius, whose towering insight was to understand that the world cannot be put in order without first
putting in order the family.
Now in the ultimate irony, just
as mankind produces the most dazzling scientific and technological breakthroughs ever, we are also approaching what many warn
could be the demise of civilization itself because of the decline of the family.
"We are living in a decisive and very important moment,"
declared Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo. "If we have bad laws concerning the institutions that are fundamental for
the life of society, then we will all suffer and, after us, the generations to come. The situation that has been created in
our world with regard to marriage and the family calls for all our efforts."
Or, as stated more succinctly by President Boyd K. Packer, "If
we do not protect and foster the family, civilization and our liberties [will] perish."
Several years ago a colleague and I were honored to accompany US Ambassador Ellen
Sauerbrey on a diplomatic tour of Central America. As we sat in the office of a president of one of the countries, he stated
that all the major problems in his nation arose directly from a breakdown of the family. It is the same story everywhere:
the disintegration of the family is unleashing an avalanche of crime, chaos, and economic and social disaster.
As if this were not enough, the institution of the family is under
an intentional and severe attack. According to Dr. Allan C. Carlson, "The natural family stands reviled and threatened
in the 21st century." In the words of Catherine Vierling, "We are at war.... The family is in
danger [from those who] actively promote and implement a very aggressive anti-life, anti-faith, anti-family agenda behind
Many of those closed doors are in the halls of the United Nations, the most dangerous battleground
in the war against the family. Ellen Sauerbrey, former United States Ambassador to the UN Commission on the Status of Women,
stated: "It is a terrible mistake to ignore what happens at these UN conferences because international statements
matter a great deal. It matters because modern international law now deals not only with the obligations of states but with
the shape of the family and the rights of individuals, including children…. Each internationally negotiated document
builds upon language used and objectives sought in preceding conference documents and, as a result, becomes an important link
in a chain that will impact on societies around the globe. We can’t afford to ignore
what is going on in these international bodies because they have the ability to have a profound impact on us….
Lawrence vs. Texas [the US Supreme Court case that opened the way for gay marriage] cited customary international law.…
We don’t dare ignore what is going on in the United Nations.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks declared, "I am grateful that
watchmen on the tower have alerted us to enemies and conditions that threaten to undermine the family-the foundation of societies
and nations in every part of the world. Ironically, some of these enemies are working through the UN and using its stature
and authority on the world stage to pursue anti-family efforts that must be of concern to us all....We must act to preserve
the families of the world."
There is simply too much at stake to fail to act. "Throughout
history," observed Emperor Haile Selassie, "it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the
indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made
it possible for evil to triumph."
invite you to join in protecting and promoting the natural family. We can begin at home by strengthening our own family, and
then reach out to make a difference in our communities, nations, and around the world. We must take steps to preserve the
sanctity of marriage and of the unborn, the right of children to grow up with both a father and a mother, and the right of
parents to guide their children in matters of faith and morality, as well as the right of religious leaders and organizations
to continue to speak and act in matters of faith without interference.
We especially urge delegates, ambassadors, policymakers, legislators,
judges, educators, and other leaders and people of influence to evaluate proposed laws, policies, and curriculum in light
of their impact on the family, and to take all necessary steps to preserve and protect our fundamental unit of society. We
further urge leaders in media and entertainment to encourage and stand up for family values, and to help turn around the dangerous
decline our society is experiencing.
"Law cannot stop family decline by itself,"
stated Professor Don Browning. "It must be part of a larger work of culture where law joins with religion, the human
sciences, the market, public policy, and the arts to once again honor the natural family and equip persons to have the skills,
commitment, supports, and rewards necessary to form and maintain it."
In every way necessary and possible, we must act now to save the family.
to Richard Wilkins
Richard the Lionhearted is what one colleague called him, and
for good reason: Even more than a great family man, Richard G. Wilkins was a fearless defender of families around the world....
"The family is the basic unit of society and must be strengthened.
But the fact that this message is obvious has not prevented us from ignoring it. During the past 50 years, American and other
societies have been much more preoccupied with the individual and the individual's rights than with the basic social unit
within which individuals survive and thrive. The consequences are now becoming apparent around the globe."
"There has been a curious new development. In order to improve the social and political standing
of women – a goal that is quite laudable – international law has become unusually hostile to long-standing notions
of marriage, the natural family and the rearing of children."
"Following two global conflicts, the international community was
well aware that great evil is possible (and perhaps inevitable) when fundamental moral values are corrupted. The United Nations
was organized to combat programmatic evil and promote social responsibility, decency and liberty. Importantly, however, those
who established these vital goals believed that their achievement required recognition of and respect for certain intrinsic
and absolute values—including those relating to the family,
marriage, motherhood, childbearing and child rearing."
data demonstrates two nearly incontestable conclusions: (1) stable, natural marital
structures provide profound benefits for men, women and children, while (2) the breakdown
of stable, natural marital structures imposes significant social costs upon individuals and society at large. In short, families play a profoundly important social role."
"The fundamental truth that the natural family is the basic unit of society, furthermore, extends beyond
the great monotheistic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The classic Taoist text, The Chuang Tzu, explains that
familial ties are the basis of any stable society because '[w]hen people are brought together by Heaven,... when troubles
come, they hold together.'"
"The state's foremost obligation... is
to respect, defend, and protect the family as an institution."US statement to UN General Assembly at IYF+10 (read entire statement)
more than ever, families need the special protection of the public authorities. States are responsible for defending the 'sovereignty'
of the family, for the family is the fundamental cell of society's structure." .Archbishop Celestino Migliore (read entire statement)
"A nation without a conscious family policy leaves
to chance and mischance an area of social reality of the up most importance, which in consequence will be exposed to the untrammeled
and frequently thoroughly undesirable impact of policies arising in other areas.” US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Family in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights
"It is no exaggeration to say that in the Universal Declaration
the family is at the very center of rights. The family is fundamental because, among other things, it is the seedbed of all
the other rights delineated in the Universal Declaration. To make the world new following the devastation of the most destructive
war in history, the UN built its structure of universal human rights squarely on the foundation of the family."
E. Douglas Clark
Note to policymakers: As
the family is the foundation of society, so the UDHR's family provision declaring so constitutes the legal foundation (as
explained in the above resources) to provide the protection mentioned in that same provision. And see article by Professor Van Alstine.
War against the Family
"During the last two decades the United Nations System has
taken on a new role: that of world policymaker. Conferences and international conventions sponsored by the UN system are promulgating
norms that alter dramatically the natural family. International law has become hostile to long-standing notions of marriage,
the natural family and the rearing of children." Richard G. Wilkins
"In the fight for the family, the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being
called into question." Pope Benedict XVI
"Mothers are endowed with a love that is unlike any other love
on the face of the earth.”—Marjorie Pay Hinckley
greatest force for good on earth is the love of mothers."—Shelly Locke
could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”—Jewish proverb
"All that I
am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother." —Abraham Lincoln
"All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical
education I received from her."—George Washington
"The arms of a mother are the newborn's first cradle
and the injured child's first refuge. The hands of a mother are the hands of care for the child who is near and
of prayer for the one who is far away. The eyes of a mother are the eyes of fond surprise at baby's first step, the
eyes of unspoken worry at the young adult's first voyage from home, the eyes of gladness at every call or
visit that says she is honored and remembered. The heart of a mother is a heart that is always full."—President Ronald Reagan, Mothers Day Proclamation 1988
Marriage Debate: "The Defining Battle of Our Time"
"To destroy the institution of marriage
by redefining it out of existence is a social upheaval so momentous and so far-reaching that we cannot even clearly predict
just how much damage will ensue. This is the defining battle of our time."—Bill Muehlenberg
Marriage is literally on trial. As
the United States Supreme Court prepares to decide the fate of Prop 8 and DOMA, the very definition of marriage hangs in the
balance. Before the highest court in the land, lawyers are arguing that continuing to limit marriage to those of the opposite sex infringes the rights of gays and lesbians. But what about the rights of children?
Since the dawn of human history, marriage
between a man and a woman has been—by divine design, many believe—the bedrock foundation of family and civilization.
This natural complementarity of father and mother has afforded the optimum opportunity for children to grow and flourish.
Notwithstanding the multitude of imperfect parents and flawed marriages, the ideal has remained constant. "The family
has been the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history," wrote world historian Will Durant.
Does a child need a father? President Barak Obama declared: "Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are
reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to
Does a child
need a mother? Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon stated: "Mothers play a critical role in the family, which
is a powerful force for social cohesion and integration. The mother-child relationship is vital for the healthy development
of children.... We face multiple challenges in our changing world, but one
factor remains constant: the timeless importance of mothers and their invaluable contribution to raising the next generation."
So much for the NEEDS
of children, but what about their RIGHTS?Read more
Why the Marriage Debate Should Focus on the Needs of Children, by Dr. Jenet Jacob Erickson
What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, by Princeton Professor Robert George et al. (video):
Love, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Marriage, by Christine de Vollmer
See below for free immediate online access to resources in ENGLISH, FRENCH,
SPANISH, ARABIC, CHINESE and RUSSIAN!
must not forget that the family is a vital partner in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the many
other objectives set by the international community."Secretary-General Kofi Annan
"The family is not only the fundamental group unit of society, but
is also the fundamental agent for sustainable social, economic and cultural development." Doha Declaration
"The attainment of every Millennium Development Goal must begin with the family. The family is the
main instrument of societal transformation." Ambassor Iftekhar Chowdhury
In 2012 at UN headquarters in New
York, the Doha International Institute for Family Studies and Development launched a new book that focuses on the key role played by the family in the attainment
of each Millennium Development Goal.
The Family and the MDGs: Using Family
Capital to Achieve the 8 Millennium Development Goals, by Susan Roylance et al., with an introduction by Her
Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser
oustanding values program created by Latin American Alliance for the Family (Alianza Latinoamericana para la Familia, or ALAFA),
with translations used in Latin America (Spanish and Portuguese), the US and UK, and Sub-Saharan Africa (this is but one of ALAFA's excellent programs)
can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”—Mother
"Peace in society depends upon peace in the family."
conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." —Alex Haley
is the nucleus of civilization.”—Will Durant
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the
whole world in which we live.”—Pope John Paul III
“There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating
virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” —Winston Churchill
“This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It's
knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”
are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take
time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you've
done will have mattered as much.”—Lisa Wingate
“God is the designer of the family.” —Gordon B. Hinckley
[is] a haven in a heartless world." —Christopher Lasch
the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family." —George
"Our most baisc instinct is not
for survival but for family." —Paul Pearshall
“The home is the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose,
and that is to support the ultimate career.” —C. S. Lewis
“No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” —J. E. McCullough
"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." —John
"There is nothing greater and better than this—when
a husband and wife keep a household in oneness of mind." —Homer
matter how big our house was; it mattered that there was love in it.” —Peter Buffett
“The traditional family is the necessary foundation for (international) communities; because it is the
sanctuary where men and women learn cooperation, sacrifice, love, and mutual support; it is the training ground where children
learn the public virtues of responsibility, work, fair play, and social interdependence. International law and the family,
therefore, are inextricably linked. Disregarding this link places both the law and the families in peril.” — Richard
"The family is one of nature's masterpieces." —George
“Family is not an important thing, it's everything.” —Michael
“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we
are loved.” —Victor Hugo
"It is no secret that the vulnerability
suffered by our peoples—insecurity, crime, abuse, abandonment of the elderly, orphaned children and violence—causes
enormous imbalances and obliges us to spend millions on institutional policies that in the end can do no more than manage
those ills. If we go on like this, a time when will come when all our tax resources will not suffice to counter the effects
of vulnerability. If we wish to address the causes, we must look at the family." —Ana Teresa Aranda
"In time of test,
family is best." —Burmese Proverb
“The family is a school
of compassion because it is here that we learn to live with other people." —Karen Armstrong
only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family."—Lee Iacocca
way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” —Mother Teresa
this era is over, every living human being will have chosen. Every living human being will have lined up in support of the
family or against it. Every living human being will have either opposed the onslaught against the family or supported it,
for if he tries to make no choice that in itself will be a choice. If we do not act in behalf of the family, that is itself
an act of opposition to the family.”—Sheri L. Dew
"A gay man in New Zealand who wants
to become an Anglican priest is taking the Bishop of Aukland to the country’s Human Rights Tribunal for discriminating
against him. The man, whose name has not been released, claims the Rev. Ross Bay refuses to allow him to enter the Anglican
Church’s training or discernment program for priests because he is gay… In April, New Zealand became the 13th
country in the world to approve same-sex marriage."
“For most of human history,
the family — defined by parents, children and extended kin — has stood as the central unit of society….
Today, in the high-income world and even in some developing countries, we are witnessing a shift to a new social model….
The most obvious impact from post-familialism lies with demographic decline. It is already having a profound impact on fiscal
"As anyone who has tried it knows, raising a family and sustaining a marriage are challenging
things to do. However, at stake is not only the health of the individual family but also the prosperity and future of society."
"It is a structural injustice to a child, to deprive him or her of a relationship with both parents, without
some compelling or unavoidable reason."
Hungary Protects Family and Marriage in Amended
The Fourth Amendment to Hungary's
Fundamental Law (the Constitution) includes this provison: “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage,
understood to be the conjugal union of a man and a woman based on their independent consent; Hungary shall also protect the
institution of the family, which it recognizes as the basis for survival of the nation. Marriage and the parent-child relationships
are the basis of the family."
"I am against discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation and against legalizing same-sex marriage.... .My reasons for opposition go to the nature of marriage
as the societal institution that institutionalizes, symbolizes and protects the inherently reproductive human relationship
which exists between a man and a woman, and, in doing so, establishes children’s human rights with respect to their
biological origins and the family structure in which they are reared."
“'In passing the ‘shot-gun’ same-sex
marriage bill, Parliament has chosen to reject the obvious cultural and natural character of marriage and the subsequent creation
and care of children, and made marriage just about partnership,' said Bob McCroskie, National Director of Family First."
“After months of debate and massive protests, the National Assembly in France passed President Francois Hollande's
‘marriage for all’ bill in to law on April 23…. One group, La Manif Pour Tous,… argues
that the now-law is ‘profoundly discriminatory’ towards children since those adopted by two men or two women will,
by law, no longer have a mother and father.”
"Protests against the law, led by lay groups mostly backed by the Catholic Church, have become more agitated
in recent days as noisy opponents rally outside
the Senate and National Assembly and harass politicians supporting the reform."
"Civil recognition of the marriage union
of a man and a woman serves the ends of limited government more effectively, less intrusively and at less cost than does picking
up the pieces from a shattered marriage culture."
Secretary-General Says Gay Rights Should Trump Freedom
"If marriage is redefined
in civil law, individuals and religious organizations – regardless of deeply held beliefs – will be compelled
to treat same-sex unions as the equivalent of marriage in their lives, ministries and operations."
old Berry thought marriage was a cultural response to creation, a vow men and women take to humanize procreation, to embed
fertility in faithful community. The new Berry thinks that marriage is a portable contract, suitable for any two autonomous
individuals who want the law to facilitate their care for each other."
"The intact married
family with children is the household that generates the productive work, income, and savings that purchase houses, food,
cars, and clothing, use energy, send children to school, and save for college and weddings.... If we want a vibrant economy,
we must grow the best of children, just as the farmer who wants the best crops pays close attention to the timing of the seasons,
and sows the best seed in the best soil he can."
"The Church of England’s Common Worship Marriage Service declares, ‘Marriage
is a gift of God in creation’. The teaching of Jesus on marriage began with creation: ‘he who created them at
the beginning made them male and female, and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast
to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”’ (Matthew 19.4-5 (ESV)). In calling it a gift of God, we mean
that it is not simply a cultural development (though it has undergone much cultural development) nor simply a political or
economic institution (though often embedded in political and economic arrangements). It is an expression of the human nature
which God has willed for us and which we share. And although marriage may fall short of God’s purposes in many ways
and be the scene of many human weaknesses, it receives the blessing of God and is included in his judgment that creation is
‘very good’ (Genesis 1.31). In calling it a gift of God in creation, we view marriage within its wider life-context:
as an aspect of human society and as a structure of life that helps us shape our journey from birth to death...""Men and Women in Marriage"
“The most recent rule [proposed by the Obama Administration] does nothing for people
of faith who run for-profit workplaces. The mandate continues to apply there without exception, or even the pretense of one.
It is unconscionable for the federal government to force religious people to check their deeply held beliefs at the door as
they enter the world of commerce. These days, our business sector needs to be informed by more moral reflection, not less..."
Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard, and fomer US Ambassador to the Holy See
want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cellphones
or the Internet.”—Justice Samuel Alito during arguments in the Prop 8 case
"Social science data demonstrates two nearly incontestable conclusions:
(1) stable, natural marital structures provide profound benefits for
men, women and children, while (2) the breakdown of stable, natural
marital structures imposes significant social costs upon individuals and society at large. In short, families play a profoundly important social role."—Professor Richard Wilkins (in The Social Role of the Family)
"Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the pivotal
justice on the issue, said the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) may have intruded too deeply on the traditional role
of state governments in defining marriage..."
"A Maryland man who co-founded National Capital Tea Party Patriots told the crowd:
'I am Doug Mainwaring, and I’m gay. And for a very long time, I was pro-same-sex marriage. . . . Until I began to consider
why I supported same-sex marriage, and I came to the following conclusion: Marriage is an immutable term, and we should not
mess with it.'"
“Striking a tone of radical humility that has already become his
trademark, Pope Francis offered a passionate pledge in his installation Mass on Tuesday to serve “the poorest, the weakest,
the least important,” urging world leaders to protect human life and the environment and use tenderness to inspire hope…”
"At stake is the identity and survival
of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against
in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God."
"Religious liberty doesn’t stop
at the church doors. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the nonpartisan public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting
the free expression of all religions, filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court..."
Pope Benedict XVI: A Note of Gratitude
Amid the swirl of reaction to the Pope's announcement of his pending resignation,
I wish to express gratitude for his unequivocal support of family and marriage. His defense of these foundational institutions
included the following statement made in an address given in Rome on January 19, 2013: "The
Church reaffirms her great 'yes' to the dignity and beauty of marriage as an expression of the faithful and generous bond
between man and woman, and her no to 'gender' philosophies, because the reciprocity between male and female is an expression
of the beauty of nature willed by the Creator." Thank you, Pope Benedict. Your courage has made a difference. —EDC
Church of England holds very firmly, and continues to hold to the view, that marriage is a lifelong union of one man to one
woman…. At the same time, at the heart of our understanding of what it is to be human, is the essential dignity of
the human being. And so we have to be very clear about homophobia."
adoption agencies have been forced to close their doors in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., because their religious
beliefs about marriage were deemed unacceptable by their jurisdictions."
two weeks (March 4-15, 2013) at UN headquarters in New York City, statements were read, panelists spoke, NGOs pedaled their
ideas and services, but little truly related to solving the issue related to the theme of ending violence against women..."
LGBT Rights and the Universal Declaration: A Critique of the Secretary-General's Remarks, by E. Douglas
"It was not just the LGBT community
who cheered when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently decried violence against gays. [Click here to read his remarks.] Addressing a crowded room of LGBT activists assembled on December 11, 2012 to celebrate International Human Rights
Day at UN headquarters..."Read more
Family Policy Resource
UN Family Issues Guide
ONLINE Guide to Family Issues in United Nations Conference Documents
An essential resource for UN ambassadors
and delegates, compiled and arranged by Susan Roylance
The twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the
Family (IYF+20) will focus on exploring family-oriented policies and strategies aiming mainly
at confronting family poverty; ensuring work-family balance and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity.
The coordinator for this key event is Renata Kaczmarska, the UN Focal Point on the Family. The following is from the IYF+20 website:
preparations for the twentieth anniversary will include:
International and regional expert group meetings gathering family
experts and practitioners to explore recent family trends; analyse family-oriented policies and programmes and review good
practices in family policy making.
Research activities, including background papers on family poverty, work family balance and intergenerational
Exchange of good
practices in family policy.
Observances of the International Days of Families focusing on the themes for the twentieth anniversary.
events at the Commission for Social Development.
Government, civil society, academic and private sector initiatives at the national
and recommendations from these activities are to guide future action in effective family policy design, monitoring and implementation.
United Nations agencies and bodies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, research and academic institutions
and the private sector are encouraged to play a supportive role in promoting the objectives of the twentieth anniversary for
the benefit of families worldwide. For more information contact Focal Point on the Family at email@example.com.