Two protesters were arrested at a pro-family conference on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia. ABC News reported 50 demonstrators attended the event, despite critics’ previous promise that thousands of protesters would block the entrances.
The event is a regional conference of the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based coalition of pro-life and pro-family groups from around the world that has been active in advancing its cause of man-woman marriage and protection of unborn children from abortion. The World Congress has held global meetings in Geneva, Prague, Mexico City, Warsaw, and Madrid.
Long-time World Congress supporter Kevin Andrews, former Australian Senator and now Cabinet Minister for Social Services, was scheduled to speak and receive an award but has pulled out under pressure.
In a statement released by his office, Andrews has canceled his welcoming address because the conference, after failing to find commercial space due to boycott threats, settled on using the facilities of a group called Catch the Fire Ministries. Given that Catch the Fire was already a sponsor of the event, conference sponsors are saying Andrews’ reason for withdrawing is a “cop out.”
Critics in Australia charge the conference will promote “homophobia” and “phony science.”
One of the scheduled speakers is Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a medical doctor who links abortion to the chances of developing breast cancer, a claim denied by the American Medical Association and other medical bodies. Lanfranchi and Dr. Patrick Fagan, a former official in the Bush Administration and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, published a meta-analysis of 72 epidemiological studies that suggest such a link. Lanfranchi and Dr. Joel Brind, who also campaigns on the issue, charge the medical establishment with working in tandem with the abortion industry to deny the link.
Others charge the World Congress of Families with hatred toward homosexuals for its promotion of what they call the “natural family,” defined as a man and woman married for life and those connected to them by blood and marriage. Only 16 countries allow for same-sex marriage. Even so, it has become a red flag to the sexual left in Australia and elsewhere.
The Illinois-based World Congress of Families has issued a letter defending the meeting that has been signed by 80 noted family advocates from the U.S. and around the world, including former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. The letter says, “Sexual radicals have launched a smear campaign to discredit the Melbourne conference, which misrepresents the international pro-family movement and the positions of the World Congress of Families. Specifically, it is alleged that advocacy of the natural (or normative) family is somehow unfair to other families and that we ‘shame’ single-parent families, homosexual ‘couples’ and the divorced. Yet social science data shows clearly and unequivocally that children do best in families with a mother and father.”
The World Congress has come to the attention of the massive organizations of the 1.6% of Americans who are attracted to the same-sex. The Human Rights Campaign, which raises nearly $50 million per year, just issued a report attacking the World Congress, accusing them of fomenting LGBT hatred and draconian laws on homosexuality in Africa, something World Congress chief Lawrence Jacobs denies.