We Must Fight the Global War Against Marriage

Redefining marriage for the entire globe is not presently feasible, and may never be.

By Stefano Gennarini Published on October 3, 2016

There is quite possibly no greater slight to social acceptance of homosexual relations than what international law has to say about marriage and the family. Even the Catholic Catechism’s adage about homosexuality being “intrinsically disordered” may not be as offensive to homosexual activists.

Relations between individuals of the same sex are simply incapable of constituting a family for purposes of international law, and are not entitled to the singular protections reserved for the natural family in binding human rights instruments.

This is uniquely menacing to achieving universal social acceptance of homosexuality and why countries in the throes of the homosexual revolution are trying to oppose, undermine, and dilute any mention of the family in U.N. policy in line with international law. The ongoing 71st session of the General Assembly is no exception.

The Family in International Law

The homosexual lobby has tried for years to argue that international law does not define the family. But it is hard to give such arguments credence. Instead, they must be viewed as attempts to undermine established human rights obligations.

The family is treated univocally across a slew of provisions in binding human rights instruments as “the natural and fundamental group unit of society.” These provisions reserve singular protections for the natural family, explicitly and implicitly described as resulting from the union of a man and a woman who exercise their equal right to freely marry and found a family.

While these provisions do not exclude the formation of a family outside of marriage, they exclude the prospect of marriage and family formation outside of the context of the natural union of a man and a woman.

They may not have been intended as a formal definition of the family when originally drafted, but they come critically close to it. And, in light of their constant use and repetition from 1948 to 2006 across multiple treaties, they must be regarded at the very least as a functional definition of the family, and a binding one nonetheless.

The Family in U.N. Policy

Even though no mandate exists to support the world’s top diplomatic organization wading into the world’s most contentious social debate, a cadre of delegations and international bureaucrats is laboring to do just this.

The entire United Nations apparatus has been mobilized by Nordic Countries, the U.N. bureaucracy, and intermittently the European Union and the U.S. State Department to chip away at what international law says about the family.

In the 1980s, they successfully dropped the word “natural” from any mention of the family in U.N. policy, and only accepted to refer to the family as the “basic” unit of society.

In the 1990s, they started adding that there are “various forms of family” in U.N. documents, a phrase that is no longer in use because it became too controversial following the dawn of homosexual unions and “marriage.”

Now, having failed at an explicit redefinition of the family, they try and block any reference to the family at all in U.N. resolutions. Failing that, they will not accept any mention other than the plural “families,” because it is perceived as less categorical than the singular noun “family.”

These skirmishes have tested the political will of states for an eventual adoption of an open definition for the family in international law. So far, the innovators have met with stiff resistance. Most recently, the Human Rights Council in Geneva comfortably adopted a resolution on the family that strongly upheld what international says about the family.

The Threat from the U.N. System

In short, redefining marriage for the entire globe is not presently feasible, and may never be. But supporters of the homosexual lobby at U.N. headquarters are trying to gain international recognition for homosexual relations as capable of constituting “families.”

The purpose of introducing ambiguity wherever the family is mentioned in U.N. resolutions is to provide cover for the U.N. system as it extends special protections to homosexual “families” even in the absence of an express mandate to do so.

While U.N. policy is not binding on states, it is binding on the U.N. system which handles roughly $50 billion dollars in different forms of aid annually, and contributes to the way over $160 billion in global development assistance are spent globally each year. Much of that money is spent on programs and policies that have direct and indirect impact on family law, social norms, and the family more broadly.

We are at a critical moment of the debate.

Many traditionally minded countries would prefer not to refer to the family at all in U.N. policy if there is any question that it might be construed as a mandate to promote same-sex “families.” But others are quite willing to be silenced by powerful countries so long as they are not directly asked to promote social acceptance of homosexuality.

The Family Articles 

The Family Articles is a platform for civil society that was launched in April this year to contest the ongoing coercion and overreach within the U.N. System to promote the homosexual agenda. They were presented at U.N. headquarters in May. As of this writing upwards of 180 organizations have signed on to the articles.

They document several of the more egregious cases of the U.N. system promoting the homosexual agenda and restate what international law says about the family.

Few dare say it.

If “marriage equality” is the final frontier of social acceptance for homosexuality and redefining marriage for the entire globe through international law is an unholy grail of sorts for the homosexual lobby, it is also a goal that is just as elusive, if not more, than the quest for the holy grail.

But the U.N. system may be able to get around this by promoting the notion of homosexual “families.” The Family Articles are meant to help diplomats and politicians fight back against this overreach by international bureaucrats and powerful nations.


Stefano Gennarini is the Director of Legal Studies at the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam) in New York. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of C-Fam.

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