The Word 'Family' Incenses the Left at the UN

For years the political left at the UN has gotten its way on issues related to the family, but not recently, and they are upset.

The issue is over language. The left does not like the use of the singular “family,” believing it is “patriarchal” and does not recognize same-sex couples. In its place and for many years UN member states have used a compromise, “various forms of the family.” However, this phrase has been rejected twice in the past few months, most recently two weeks ago in Geneva.

A coalition of states led by the Russian Federation called for a panel discussion on “the family” and human rights in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family being celebrated this year.

Calls went out all over the world that a catastrophe was about to happen. A group called International Service for Human Rights sent out a blast saying, “This approach risks subverting the rights of individuals, including women and children, to the ‘rights’ of the family.” They wrote the sponsors of the resolution have “deliberately chosen to exclude previously-agreed UN language” that various forms of the family exist.

After a furious back and forth that pitted the developing world against the European Union and the United States, the singular “family” stayed, and “various forms” lost. The US voted against the resolution.

Last week a coalition of left-wing groups issued a call scolding the Human Rights Council for not using “various forms of the family.” The document, signed by 20 groups – including Amnesty International; the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association; and the Franciscans International, an NGO which calls itself "inspired by Franciscan values" – insists that the panel to be convened this September “reflects the diversity of family forms…”

They charge that “some states will seek to exploit [the panel] as a vehicle for promoting a narrow, exclusionary and patriarchal concept 'the family' that denies equal protection to the human rights of individuals who belong to the various and diverse forms of family that exist across the globe.”


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