2019 was a very dynamic year in regards to the civil actions related to the family and children. Our most significant accomplishments, achieved with others, have been the withdrawal of the National Child Strategy 2019-2030 and the postponement of the entry into force of the Law for Social Services by 6 months.
In January, the Society and Values Association sent the authorities an Open Statement, which over the span of a week had been supported by more than 8000 citizen online and on behalf of 35 civic organizations, requesting the withdrawal of the National Child Strategy 2019-2030. The support of the online Statement garnered nearly 22,000 signatures over the next few months.
Our actions, along with others, have inspired parents and led to the formation of a large-scale parental movement in the country. Thanks to the common efforts the government withdrew the Strategy for the Child in May, and on December 20 postponed the entry into force of the Social Services Law by 6 months.
In spring we translated and sent to the governing authorities the results of a large-scale international study on the results of comprehensive sex education in schools, which has proven to be an ineffective strategy for adolescent’s health and leading to many negative consequences. We urged them in a letter to not allow its introduction inside and outside the schools.
In response to our request to the Ministry of Education and Science for access to public information, it became clear that the school and pre-school sex education is legally regulated in our country as part of health education. Citizens, representing non-governmental organizations and institutions are allowed to take part in it.
We have publicized this and launched an online petition supported by over 25 non-profit organizations. It appeals to government officials to reject the introduction of compulsory sex education in kindergartens and schools, to respect the rights of parents and to prevent materials, surveys and discussions in schools on topics regarding gender identity and non-consensual issues, as ordered by the Minister of Education.
In June, the Society and Values Association took part in the second National March for the Family, which brought together hundreds of supporters of the family in Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna and Rousse.
In the fall we sent a Statement regarding a draft about an “Instruction for access of the State Agency for National Security to the database of Ministry of Science and Education”. In it, we highlighted the problematic texts and requested that it be thoroughly revised in order to comply with the principles of personal data protection and to guarantee, as far as possible, the rights of children and parents.
We have translated and distributed the documentary “Marriage is Our Future”, with the permission of Alliance Defending Freedom. The film tells the stories of women and men who grew up with parents in same-sex relationships. They share the longing and lack that each child experiences because of the absence of a missing parent, hoping to help future generations have and know their father and mother. Through social media, so far the film has been seen by over 23,000 people and shared over 430 times.
We have sent a letter to the authorities urging them to take immediate action to repeal the Social Services Law and the changes resulting from it, in order to revise the adopted legislation in a way that ensures and guarantees the constitutional right of parents, with regard to the care and upbringing of their children. They postponed the entry into force of the law by 6 months in December.
Throughout the year, we continued to respond to inaccurate statements, criticisms and undue pressure on our country to ratify the Istanbul Convention. In this regard, we have sent letters to representatives of international institutions and organizations, such as the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the UN rapporteur on women’s issues. We have appealed to the ruling authorities to issue an opinion in a case before the Court of Justice on the Istanbul Convention, which is in line with the decision of the Constitutional Court. Later, the government came up with such position.
Throughout the year, we participated and we help to facilitate a number of meetings, events, seminars and media broadcasts, expressing an active position in support of and promoting human dignity and freedom, marriage and family. We have informed the public and the media of important news and developments on these issues in other countries, including the severe consequences in sports, forcing women to compete with biological men.
For the eighth year, we helped with the coordination of International Marriage Week in Bulgaria. The initiative has expanded even further, with events in different cities, conducted by specialists in the sphere of family health. Marriage Week has received widespread coverage in the media and some took part in initiatives and competitions to support marriage and family.
We had the privilege of organizing and hosting a meeting with Richard and Maria Kane, founders of the International Marriage Week in Bulgaria, attended by representatives from various fields of society and the media.
We assisted in the third edition of the School for Successful Marriage in Sofia, which involved over 150 participants. During the Marriage Week, due to the invitation of one of the capital’s universities, we have shared with students the benefits of marriage and the importance of developing our communication skills.
Since the beginning of the initiative, there has been a 37% increase in marriages and a slight decrease in the number of divorces. With its widespread public support and media publicity, we believe that Marriage Week contributes to this.
What kind of future do we want to give our children?
We want to see children grow up in healthy families, to have and to know the love of their father and mother.
Marriage between a man and a woman should be maintained so that their rights can be protected. Human life and dignity should be respected from the beginning to the natural end.
We want to continue to uphold the freedom of speech, thought and faith. The freedom of parents to educate their children according to their values and beliefs and to have a leading decision on their education.
We want women to be protected not only at home. Let us not allow for them to compete with transgender men in sports, nor let their bodies be used as objects of trade.
We want children to experience their childhood as children. To not be sexualized and institutionalized from an early age, or confused about their gender identity.
We want to help the young people’s dream come true – for their marriage to withstand until the end. To see more young families return and prosper in our homeland…
How you can participate?
Your involvement is key to meeting the challenges ahead. To be able to protect children and families in view of the delayed entry into force of the Social Services Law and not allow the introduction of compulsory pre-school education from the age of 4. To continue contributing to more healthy and happy families with more children in our country!
Become our partner by joining a regular monthly or annual donation. Each giving matters to us!
Thank you for your help and support!
Society and Values Association Team