Thursday, May 14, 2015

World Congress of Families: For and Against

The World Congress of Families purports to be a "pro-family" institution, and only claims the "natural family", or that of a male and a female being married and the biological parents of all of their children, the be the best and legitimate family unit for society.

This October, the institution will be holding its annual conference in Salt Lake City. Several religions are participating, local, and worldwide. The LDS church will have significant contributions to the speaking and hosting of the event. Sheri Dew and one LDS church leader are expected to speak.

Mayor Ralph Becker of SLC stated that although it is his responsibility to protect free speech and rights to assembly, he does not believe the conference's message reflects Salt Lake City's values. He hopes that those in the conference can learn from SLC's commitment to "inclusion, acceptance, and equality for all".

The irony of the conference is that it comes to SLC following the most heated debates concerning same-sex marriage. SLC was the first in Utah to put in nondiscrimination policies for sexual preference and gender identity. Utah was the first state to bring SSM to the US Supreme Court. Utah now issues same-sex marriage licenses. Utah's anti-gay laws and predominantly Mormon culture accelerated the process of equality, much to the church's and its members' dismay. The conference representatives says all registered attendees are welcome, even if the conference does not approve of same-sex couples. They hope for "respectful civil discourse" concerning any differences.

A newly organized coalition, "All Families Coalition", is supported by Restore Our Humanity, Equality Utah, Atheists of Utah, and Mormons Building Bridges. The coalition celebrates diversity in families. It says people like those in this conference like to ignore problems like poverty, violence, and drugs in order to blame things like same-sex marriage, divorce, and female reproductive rights on the "decline of the family".

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