Joint Statement of CSOs on Family in the Post-2015 Summit Outcome

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | July 24, 2015


A Statement of Civil Society on Paragraph 38 in the

Final Draft of the Post-2015 Summit Outcome

Many Member States have articulated the view that for the post-2015 development agenda to be truly transformative it must target the family as both an object of development policies and a subject that actively contributes to the realization of poverty eradication and sustainable development.

The new language (paragraph 38) in the final draft of the Post-2015 Summit outcome goes a long way to try and realize that. But it also contains a phraseology that can be misconstrued as support for the UN secretariat and agencies to promote the notion of same-sex families, or at the very least as support for departing from the understanding of the family in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The UDHR States that the family is “the natural and fundamental group unit of society”. 70 years after the founding of the United Nations, this language continues to be the mainstay of virtually every UN resolution and conference that has mentioned the family. It would be tragic to see the insertion of ambiguous family language in the final SDG text.

The following amendments eliminate the risk of promoting, developing, and advancing policies that are actually antithetical to the family and the health and wellbeing of family members:

Cameroon Proposal:

38. We recognize the role of the family as a contributor to sustainable development; one measure of success of the new Agenda will be its [ADD: the ability of society and the state] to strengthen and protect all families [ADD: the family, which is the natural and fundamental group unit of society (UDHR 16.3)].

CARICOM Proposal Supported by Arab Group:

38bis. We recognize the role of the family [ADD: which is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, (UDHR 16.3)] as a contributor to sustainable development and the need to strengthen family policy development in international efforts to achieve the internationally agreed development goals (Taken from A/70/61 and HRC29/22)

This language EXCLUDES any international recognition to relations between persons of the same-sex as a “family,” as in the case of homosexual civil unions and so-called gay marriage. Ambiguous family language can only contribute, and even lead, to the eventual redefinition of the family in international law and policy.

Contrary to what the opposition claims, the UDHR understanding of the family is not a monolithic or western construct. It does not preclude national legislation to work out the details of family formation and regulations.

The UDHR formulation is the most unambiguous way to ensure that the post-2015 summit outcome reflects the majority view that the family is the natural and fundamental unit of society, where children are the natural fruit of the love between men and women. The insertion of ambiguous family language would give rise to the impression that family is an arbitrary and unaccountable sexual and emotional bond between adults, where children are commodities to be manufactured, contracted for, and ultimately purchased.

The issue is not that the present language recognizes same-sex relations. The issue is that it ambiguously departs from the UDHR norm, giving space for a harmful new understandings that reduces family to government sanction of adult sexual and emotional desires, instead of recognizing it as a central agent to achieve the common good of spouses, children, and society at large because of the natural structure of human nature and society.

Any ambiguity with regard to what constitutes a family will be construed by the UN secretariat and agencies as a mandate to promote same-sex “families”, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity as categories in international human rights law or UN social policy. [1]

There is no mandate for this kind of activity. But any ambiguity in the summit outcome and the SDGs will be construed by the secretariat and agencies as a mandate to continue to promote this agenda with the backing of the wealthy donor governments that fund the secretariat and agencies and direct their work.


The following organizations join this statement:

1. Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), New York

2. Alliance Defending Freedom Global, (ADF Global)

3. Profesionales por la Ética, Spain

4. Women of the World, Global

5. Fundación Familia y Futuro, Ecuador

6. Vida y Familia de Guadalajara A.C., Mexico

7. Comunidad y Justicia, Chile

8. Instituto Panameno de Educacion Familiar, Panama

9. Femina Europa, France

10. Population Research Institute

11. Family Life Council, Inc.

12. Observatorio Ciudadano por la Vida y la Familia, Costa Rica

13. Corporacion Maternitas, Chile

14. Instituto Acton, Argentina

15. United Families International

16. Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society

17. International Solidarity and Human Rights Institute (ISHRI)

18. Alerta Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico

19. Argentinos Alerta, Argentina

20. Red por la Vida y la Familia, Chile

21. Fundación Rebecca Rivera Tull

22. Coalición Puertorriqueña por Amor a la Niñez

23. Maestros con Propósito

24. Associaçao Casa Mae de Brasil

25. Movimiento Ciudadano Pro Familia

26. Morality in Media of Puerto Rico

27. Instituto de Políticas y Estudios Familiares

28. Voto Católico Colombia

29. Consejo Boliviano de Laicos

30. Alianza Latinoamericana para la Familia (ALAFA), Venezuela

31. Porodica pobedjuje, Serbia

32. Cristianos por la vida, Chile

33. Fundacion bautista, Chile

34. Soñando Chile Foundation

35. Human Life International

36. Canada Silent No More

37. Endeavour Forum Inc.

38. CitizenGo

39. Observatorio Regional para la Mujer de América Latina y el Caribe AC

40. Personhood USA

41. Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC)

42. European Life Network

43. Radiance Foundation

44. Asociacion Razon y Fe

45. Foundation for African Cultural Heritage (FACH)

46. Culture of Life Africa

47. Fondazione Novae Terrae, Milano

48. Commission for Reproductive Health Service Standards, USA

49. Christian Family Fellowship, USA

50. Anglicans for Life

51. Family & Life, Ireland

52. REAL Women of Canada

53. Life Ethics Educational Association, Canada

54. Campaign Life Coalition, Canada

55. Derechos del Concebido, Canada

56. Associação Menonita Beneficente, Brazil

57. Asociacion Nicaragüense de Bioetica

58. Instituto de Estudios Familia y Sociedad, Peru

59. Asociacion Nicaraguanse de la Mujer

60. Family Research Institute

61. Amigos da Missão Infantil, Brazil

62. Agência Brasileira de Desenvolvimento Econômico Social (ABRADES), Brazil

63. Associacao Beneficiente Moria, Brazil

64. Fundacion Vida y Familia, Panama

65. Fundación para el Síndrome X-Frágil de Guatemala

66. Asociación Juntos por la Vida (JUVID)

67. National Organization for Marriage (NOM)

68. Sub-Saharan Africa Family Enrichment (SAFE)

69. European Center for Law and Justice

70. European Large Families Confederation

71. Associação do Ministério Ágape Reconciliação (AMAR)

72. Credo Chile

73. Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE)


The secretariat and UN agencies have been advancing a controversial social agenda under the guise of human rights for individuals that identify as
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender. An OHCHR report from November 12, 2014, titled “The Role of the United Nations in Combatting Discrimination
and Violence against Individuals Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” (available here) details how every UN agency is now
working to promote this agenda throughout the UN system.