NOM BLOG

The Rights of Every Child

 

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This week, a United Nations committee called the Convention on the Rights of a Child issued a report that has generated a lot of media buzz. The report was the result of an "investigation" into the conduct of one of the Convention's member states: the Vatican City State, also known as the Holy See.

The subject of the supposed investigation was said to be the Catholic Church's past and present institutional handling of sexual abuse of minors — the rectifying of which is an undertaking that has consumed the Church in recent years. But after issuing its reasonable condemnations of the failures of certain individuals and bureaucracies within the Church (something the Church itself has done with conviction and steadfastness), the Convention report revealed itself in an appalling way to be a mere pretext to a larger attack on the beliefs of the Catholic Church, especially concerning homosexuality.

Senator Marco Rubio even wrote a piece for National Review Online condemning the report's overreach:

[T]he U.N. ... chose to use the opportunity to make political statements about Catholic doctrine on abortion, contraception, and marriage, issues at the core of the Church's teachings about human rights and the dignity of life. In doing so, the U.N. — with the seemingly limitless worldwide injustices it could be condemning or investigating — trampled on the religious-freedom principles outlined in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What exactly was there in this report that makes it so offensive? Deacon Keith Fournier gives just a few examples in a piece he wrote at Catholic Online. These are actual quotations from the report, courtesy of Deacon Keith [emphasis added]:

  • The Committee is concerned about the Holy See's past statements and declarations on homosexuality...

  • The Committee regrets that the Holy See continues to place emphasis on the promotion of complementarity and equality in dignity, two concepts which differ from equality in law and practice...

  • The Committee... regrets that the Holy See did not provide precise information on the measures taken to promote equality between girls and boys and to remove gender stereotypes from Catholic schools textbooks...

  • The Committee urges the Holy See to adopt a rights-based approach to address discrimination between girls and boys and refrain from using terminology that could challenge equality between girls and boys. The Committee also urges the Holy See to take active measures to remove from Catholic schools textbooks all gender stereotyping which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.

... But even if all of these aren't enough to reveal the UN's political leanings, this one is the kicker, most revealing of the true underlying agenda here:

  • The Committee is concerned that the Holy See and Church run institutions do not recognize the existence of diverse forms of families and often discriminate children on the basis of their family situation.

It is probably not too cynical to say that "the Committee" might have saved a lot of ink and paper (the latter especially being surely a high priority at the U.N.!) had they just written on a notecard: 'The Committee regrets that the Catholic Church is the Catholic Church.'

Senator Rubio didn't pull any punches in pointing out this surreptitious assault on the Church's values and beliefs [emphasis added]:

The United States is still very much a country that stands at the vanguard of protecting religious freedom at home and abroad. ... [T]he U.N. has overreached in its efforts to discredit the Catholic Church's core teachings, and I hope our ambassador to the U.N. will convey this message to her counterparts there.

(Of course, our ambassador to the U.N. might be too busy auditioning for bands to carry this message.)

You see, the model is the same everywhere: as it is here in the U.S., so it is on the international scale — the push to redefine marriage and the family and thereby to de-gender society on the whole always ends up targeting religious individuals or groups for abject discrimination.

You see, this radical agenda is its own kind of "orthodoxy" and dogmatism, and doesn't brook competition: it is intolerant of any "heresy" and insists on either converting or condemning absolutely — with no room for negotiation. Humanity, as made in God's image, "male and female," will be remade according to their own imaginings — genderless, sexless, role less — and the meaning of marriage written on our hearts will be scribbled over with nonsense. In their minds, it's as if the Creator made marriage to cause harm to gays and lesbians and to punish them with a cruel attack on their basic human dignity. It does not ever occur to them that marriage is a profound public good that greatly benefits men and women, and especially their children.

But in this most recent assault by the U.N. — against beliefs shared not only by members of the Catholic Church, but by billions worldwide of any one of many religions or of no religion at all — the real outrage is that it has been done under the pretense of protecting children's rights!

I will repeat here something I've said more times than I can remember, and will continue saying again and again because it so much bears repeating: Every child has the right to the love of both a mom and a dad.

This right is fundamental and foundational, really next in importance to the right to life itself: because it is bound up with that very right, since moms and dads are the natural way kids come into the world and have the gift of life. Marriage makes men and women responsible in recognition of the magnitude of that incredible power to bring new life into the world!

Now for a Refreshing Counterpoint

The State of Utah recognizes this basic truth: Utah's voters, who decided by a 66% margin to pass a constitutional amendment in 2004 to define marriage; and Utah's leaders, are now defending that amendment in appeals court. The other day the state filed its brief to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the outrageous ruling of an activist federal judge declaring that marriage itself is unconstitutional.

In its brief to the court, the State explains its position in clear and common-sense terms. The introduction to their brief is worth quoting at length:

As with other issues of domestic-relations law, choosing a definition of marriage in today's world presents a clash between deeply held interests and values. On one hand are the interests of Utah citizens who have formed intimate, committed relationships with someone of the same sex — and in some cases are raising or wish to raise children together — and who want the State to confer on them the benefits of marriage. The State respects and values those citizens and their children as both equal before the law and fully entitled to order their private lives in the manner they have chosen.

On the other hand are the long-term interests of all Utah's children — both now and in future generations. They cannot defend their own interests. The State thus has a duty to consider their interests in deciding whether to abandon the man-woman definition of marriage. And Utah voters, in enacting the constitutional amendment known as Amendment 3, reaffirmed among other things their firm belief — also supported by sound social science — that moms and dads are different, not interchangeable, and that the diversity of having both a mom and a dad is the ideal parenting environment.

That model is not intended to demean other family structures, any more than giving an "A" to some students demeans others. As between mutually exclusive models of marriage, the man-woman model is simply the one the State and its people believe is best for children.

What makes the decision about redefining marriage particularly poignant is not merely the uncertainty inherent in predicting its long-term effects. It is also the mounting evidence that such a redefinition poses real, concrete risks to children—especially in future generations. Many of those risks flow from the inevitable effect of shifting the public meaning of marriage away from a largely child-centric institution... and toward a more adult-centric or "consent-based" view.

Now here are leaders and statesmen who understand the rights of a child!

Point-Counterpoint: Which side will Indiana chose?

Let us hope that the State of Indiana's leaders in the Legislature have the same wisdom as they continue considering the Hoosier state's proposed marriage amendment, HJR3.

If you have any friends and family in Indiana, please let them know about how they can help speak truth to power and demand that the legislature stand up for the truth about marriage and for the real rights of children.

Also, if you are in Indiana please join NOM, CitizenLink, the Indiana Family Institute, the American Family Association of Indiana, and others at the State House this Monday, February 10th as we make our voices heard and presence felt in support of marriage, the Indiana Marriage Amendment (HJR 3), and the people's right to vote. Check here for details.

The Senate must pass HJR 3 as it was originally written and passed in 2011 — this includes restoring the second sentence that the House deleted in January — or the people's chance to vote this November could be in serious jeopardy.

This week has been a reminder of why we fight.

We work to safeguard the rights of children, which marriage protects, from being suborned to the desires of adults in the name of "progress."

We work to prevent the attacks that flow against people of faith and religious organizations every time and in every place that marriage is redefined.

In sum, we work to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

Thank you for working with us.

Faithfully,

PS: As you might have surmised, the battle to preserve marriage is intense, ongoing, and multi-varied. It is also expensive. We rely on the gifts of thousands of average Americans just like you to keep our doors open and to continue the fight. Please help us with a generous contribution.

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