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Family law in the Americas: “Respect the people’s will”

600 Latin American Parliamentarians support Declaration of Independence; Document presented at First Hemispheric Congress of Parliamentarians in Mexico City


MEXICO CITY – On 15 June, American civil society organizations presented a declaration supported by more than 600 Latin American Parliamentarians calling for the right to self-determination. During the First Hemispheric Congress of Parliamentarians in Mexico City the so-called “American Declaration Regarding the Independence and Self-Determination of Peoples Relating to Life, Family and Religious Freedom” was officially launched. This comes amid a rising awareness that foreign political agendas are being imposed on American countries trying to forcefully change family-policies and pro-life legislature in the region.

Society should protect and strengthen marriage.

“Society should protect and strengthen marriage. The union between one man and one woman is timeless, universal, and unique. We see a push by well-funded, international lobby groups to undermine the concept of family and marriage in Latin America. The American Declaration calls for absolute respect of national sovereignty when it comes to family law and topics such as religious freedom and the sanctity of life. The vast majority of people in Latin America want to see family and marriage protected and promoted by their governments. We must respect the people’s will,” said Neydy Casillas, Legal Counsel for ADF International based in Washington D.C. . She participated in the Congress as an expert presenter on the Organization of American States and international human rights law.

Mounting pressure

The Declaration comes at a time when South America finds itself under mounting pressure from international lobbying groups to change national legislations. Only recently, ADF International participated in oral arguments in a defining case concerning family law before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS). The rulings of the Court are binding for the region.

Costa Rica asked the Court whether the country’s domestic law on marriage and “gender identity” violates international law. The national law does not accept or facilitate name adaptions based on supposed changes to gender nor does it recognize same-sex partnerships.

“The Inter-American Court must respect national sovereignty, particularly in areas where international law is silent, such as ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity.’ While the right for men and women to marry is recognized under international law, there is no corresponding right to same-sex marriage or a name change based on ‘gender identity’,” said Neydy Casillas.

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