WARSAW (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Polish-based citizens' initiative is going to the European Union (EU) to protect member nations against threats to traditional marriage.
The group Mom, Dad and Children is gathering signatures for an initiative it hopes to take to the European Commission. If successful, the initiative will force the Commission to reaffirm the rights of EU member states to define marriage as they see fit.
The initiative comes as some in eastern Europe worry about threats to their sovereignty from the EU. Though the EU exercises influence over many areas of the law, questions about marriage and family remain in the jurisdiction of individual countries. This means each nation is free to determine its own defintion of marriage.
But with the increasing amount of movement within the EU among member states, and the growing number of member states that support LGBT causes, the prospect rises that rights of member states will be gradually eroded. According to Mom, Dad and Children, documents coming out of the European Commission "are becoming more and more difficult to interpret and apply, as the intentions of the legislators are not clear in this respect."
The initiative's supporters hope that by forcing the Commission to reaffirm the rights of member states, it will convey to the EU that it has no power to "exert any pressure on member states to change the way of understanding of marriage and family under national law."
Mom, Dad and Children registered on December 11, 2015 with the intent of taking its case to the European Commission directly. The signature drive was launched on April 4, 2016.
Per EU law, if the initiative succeeds in getting 1 million signatures, the Commission will have to address the issue and give Mom, Dad and Children a public hearing to voice its concerns about sovereignty.
Though it is difficult to get an accurate count, organizers estimate they currently have at least 700,000 signatures. Already there are enough signatures from seven member states (Poland, Finland, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia and Croatia) to meet the first hurdle of showing multi-state support. Organizers are hoping they can collect enough signatures between now and April 3 to meet the threshold of 1 million signatures.
Though widespread support for the Mom, Dad and Children initiative has so far been limited to eastern Europe, its board includes members from all over Europe.
The initiative has already survived backdoor attempts from the European Commission to shut it down. But now that the goal of 1 million signatures appears within reach, the group is optimistic that Brussels will have to address its concerns.
Oragnizer Jan Urmański hopes the movement will not only protect the rights of eastern European member states to define traditional marriage, but also remind Western European policymakers that traditional marriage is worth defending in their own countries. Urmański hopes the movement's popularity will inspire leaders to reaffirm rights to traditional marriage and Christian morality.