We wrote yesterday about the launch of Brian Brown’s new International Organization for the Family and the anti-LGBT manifesto they are calling the Cape Town Declaration. Errol Naidoo, the founder and president of the Family Policy Institute in South Africa, has posted video excerpts from the press conference launching the declaration.
Naidoo started FPI after a six-month “training mission” at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., in 2007, and the group has since joined the World Congress of Families and the Family Rights Caucus at the United Nations. His group’s website features a logo from the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall and a photo of Naidoo speaking with anti-gay activist Harry Jackson at one of NOM’s marches in Washington, D.C. Naidoo also writes of his working relationship with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Naidoo explained in a 2013 interview that his founding of FPI was in response to the passage in 2006 of the Civil Union Act, which allowed same-sex couples to be legally married. Naidoo had lobbied against its passage in parliament. At the Cape Town press conference, he said it was significant that the group was meeting in South Africa, which he called “the first country in Africa that legalized same-sex marriage against the will of the people.” FPI’s website currently features a photo of Naidoo with Nelson Mandela, who was instrumental in the inclusion in South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution of a provision forbidding discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, the World Congress of Families, and the new International Organization for the Family, said that the gathering is meant to stand for “that thing which no government, no power can change” – the “beautiful truth” that “men and women are different, and that they are designed for something pure and good, and that is marriage.” Brown said many people in the West are afraid to speak this truth and face persecution for doing so; he said he hoped to “create a whole new movement around the world.”
Among the other speakers:
- Kenneth Meshoe, a South African politician, said that both culture and scripture teach that marriage is between a man and a woman. “We are looking forward to the day,” he said, when the Civil Union Act “will either be amended or repealed.”
- David van Gend, from the Australian Marriage Forum, which is currently resisting efforts toward marriage equality in that country, said, “We stand for a truth that no government can change,” namely, that “marriage is a social recognition of pre-existing reality.” Laws and customs, he said, exist simply “to reinforce that biological given.” No government, court or national vote, he declared, has the authority to change an institution that “predates all government, predates all law, predates all religion.” He is the author of a book entitled “Stealing From a Child: The Injustice of Marriage Equality.”
- Alexey Komov, the World Congress of Families’ man in Russia, said he was signing the declaration “on behalf of Russia” and he said that a member of Russian parliament from the ruling United Russia Party, Viktor Zubarev, will start promoting it “throughout Russia and the world using the parliamentary channels of the Russian federation.” As we have noted, Komov is “a close associate of Konstantin Malofeev, who brought NOM’s Brian Brown to Russia in 2013 and organized the WCF-summit-by-another-name that took place in Moscow in 2014.” Komov has reportedly been involved in coordinating activities among European far-right groups, in addition to his “pro-family” activism. In a 2014 press conference, Komov responded to criticism of Putin from a questioner with a screed against real and imagined problems from American history.
- Željka Markić, who led an anti-marriage-equality initiative in Croatia and is a member of the citizens’ committee promoting the Mum, Dad & Kids initiative, which is designed to restrict the recognition of marriage in European law, spoke. Markić said her country emerged from Communist totalitarianism with people understanding human dignity because families had taught their children the truth. “We all have to continue to fight for protection of marriage and family because this is the only future the human race has.”
- Luca Volontè also spoke, in English and Italian. Volontè, president of the Novae Terrae Foundation, is an active supporter of anti-LGBT and anti-abortion movements in Europe and globally. He has served with Brian Brown on the board of trustees of CitizenGo, a conservative organizing platform. Volontè was honored at the World Congress of Families summit in Salt Lake City in 2015.
- John Eastman, chairman of NOM and lawyer for many right-wing causes, said the institution of marriage reflects “core human truths” that were “given to us by nature and nature’s God” and “embedded in our nature as human beings.”
- Zacc Kawalala, a pastor from Malawi, denounced “cultural imperialism” that is “being imposed on the peoples,” echoing comments he made last year when the U.S. and other governments criticized the arrest of two men under the country’s sodomy law even though a moratorium against its enforcement had been declared.
- Guillaume de Thieulloy, a conservative French writer, said he was taking part “to fight against a new totalitarianism,” and declared that “no government can change the truth on marriage.”
- Uche Ajulu-Okeke, Nigeria’s consul general in South Africa, said that marriage had been between man and women in all African societies and all traditions, before colonialism and Christianity.
- Lawrence Khong, a pastor from Singapore, said he is “committed to spread the meaning behind this declaration” that every child has the right to a father and mother and to grow up in a place where relationships and family are honored.