The year 2018 was extremely dynamic, with key outcomes for the future of our country and beyond!
The biggest victory for us was the withdrawal of the draft bill on ratification of the Istanbul Convention and the subsequent decision of the Constitutional Court, which declared it to be inconsistent with Bulgaria’s highest law – the Constitution! Despite the enormous external and internal pressures, thanks to the active support of civil society, the Church, various politicians, public figures, doctors, teachers, psychologists, lawyers, etc., the efforts made by us all have been successful. Society and Values Association (SVA) were the first who alarmed on the consequences of the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, with the petition in September 2017, and with our letters to the government later.
By participating in the public deliberation of the Convention and in the follow-up debate in the Referendum broadcast on the Bulgarian National Television on 23rd January, we made public the definition of “gender identity” given in the explanatory report to the Convention and the implications of gender ideology in other countries, a day before discussion of the bill is begun by MPs.
Our presentation, along with the other two participants and adherents, led to 11% change in public opinion against the adoption of the Convent.
We translated and distributed in Bulgarian the documentary “War against the Children”, revealing shocking facts about the content of the World Health Organization’s sexual education programs for children, UNESCO and UNICEF. The film has reached hundreds of thousands of people through the social networks and televisions that broadcasted it.
In March, along with other 333 organizations, we made specific proposals for changes to the Istanbul Convention to the Council of Europe, with a view to genuinely being able to protect women from violence.
In May, along with 730 other civilian organizations in Europe, we issued a letter to the EU officials calling for not to ruin the family at the danger of redefinition of marriage through the “Coman” judgment.
The SVA helped to hold the first National Family March that brought together over 2500 people in five cities across the country: Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna and Rousse.
The manifestation in support of the traditional family
passed in a festive atmosphere, couples dressed in their wedding dresses, balloons, dancing, blinds and chanting in support of the family between a man and a woman. We have prepared a Declaration in support of the family to the government, on behalf of the participants in the March, which was read in the five cities.
In June, we called for 21 ambassadors to respect the Constitution of our country and international law in their demands, on the occasion of their letter in support of the LGBTI parade. We have disseminated a petition to the businesses that supported this event, asking not to support unconstitutional policies that would deprive children of their mother or father. The petition continues to gather support at civilactionbg.com
We asked some difficult questions of Commissioner Yourova during her public discussion on the topic of “The European Union’s response to the violence of women”, which were important to raise directly, although they did not find an answer.
Another key milestone was the commitment by our Foreign Minister that Bulgaria would make a clear stance against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in the EU Council, and thus would stop its EU accession. This was one of our demands, which we together with 50 other organizations and more than 2700 citizens, pressed for in our letter and petition, and our correspondence with the institutions in this connection!
This autumn we asked the government not to take away the freedom of faith, speech and conscience by the bill they had submitted. A month later, 25 organizations came up with an open letter-statement, initiated by the Rule of Law Institute. We informed many international human rights organizations and representatives of institutions about what was happening. Thanks to the active stance of the Churches, the three branches of Christianity, the international pressure, and especially the continuing civilian actions of the Gospel-Protestant community, a large part of the controversial texts were rejected on the last working day of Parliament for 2018.
We sent a number of letters and opinions* to our and international representatives of institutions on the unlawful imposition of anti-constitutional and anti-family policies in a number of areas (education, anti-discrimination in the EU, etc.).
We also took part in meetings, discussions, events, seminars and shows throughout the year with our active stance in supporting and promoting human dignity and freedom, marriage and family*. We have informed the public and the media about important news and developments in other countries.
For a seventh consecutive year we participated in the coordination of the celebration of the Marriage Week International in Bulgaria! Hundreds of couples took part in the challenges of the initiative. Events were organized all over the country. We carried out the second edition of the School for Successful Marriage in Sofia, where the Michevi family, married for 68 years, received their award from the competition of the Week of the longest married couple.
The Mayor of Burgas supported the campaign of Darik-Burgas Radio entitled “Dare to say YES!”
on the occasion of the Marriage Week, by joining in marriage three couples. Family health specialists held seminars on family relationships on the occasion of the initiative. Churches actively participated in celebrating the Marriage Week. We organized a lecture for students together with one of the universities in Sofia.
Since the beginning of our initiative in 2012, Bulgaria has by 35% increase in marriages and 14% decrease in the number of divorces. In 2017 divorces have fallen to its lowest level since 2002 to now. We believe that Marriage Week contributes to this, with its wide public support and publicity.
We still have a lot to do … People to reach, inform and mobilize. Families to help develop practical skills through School for Successful Marriage and other initiatives during the Marriage Week.
Please, join in as much as you can, because every Bulgarian lev is valuable for the work we do. You can donate online via bank transfer, EPay or PayPal via the button below:
We rely on your support so that we can more actively promote marriage and family by the Marriage Week and the School for Successful Marriage!
Thank you for being with us and helping us to make Bulgaria a much better place for us and our children!
The Team of Society and Values Association