2021 was a very dynamic year in terms of civil actions related to the meaning and the role of gender, parenthood, marriage and family, freedom of speech and more. We will remember the year with the decision of the Constitutional Court in October, on the meaning of gender and with the start of positive changes in the ECHR to reduce conflicts of interest. We will remember it with the various opinions we sent to the European Commission (EC) in connection with its initiatives for binding directives against the rights of children and parents, marriage and family, freedom of speech and others.
Here is a brief highlight of 2021:
At the beginning of January, together with March for the Family National Association, we sent an opinion with recommendations to the National Assembly regarding the proposed changes in the Child Protection Act.
Later, we sent an opinion on the draft National Health Strategy, which envisages the introduction of systematic health and sexual education in kindergartens and schools, given the data on its consequences so far, in more than 100 large-scale studies over the past 30 years.
In March, we participated with an opinion in defense of children, women, marriage and the family on the report on gender, sexual orientation and gender identity of the UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
In April, we took action to protect freedom of expression, opposing action by the European Commission to include “hate speech” and “hate crimes” for which there are no clear and generally accepted definitions in the list of serious EU crimes, such as terrorism and human trafficking.
At the end of the same month, we sent an opinion to the European Commission (EC) in defense of the national competence of the member states in the fight against violence. It is in response to the Commission’s action for a directive to introduce a gender and gender identity other than biological, which creates legal uncertainty and unpredictability of the consequences of the rule of law and weakens national protection for women.
In May, we participated with a position in the EC’s public consultations on the drafting of a directive on violence against women and with a contribution on the preparation of a directive on the recognition of same-sex unions and adoptions in the EU. In the letters we pointed out the consequences of such policies on children and society.
We participated in a joint letter, among others, to UNICEF regarding their erroneous allegations about the impact of pornography on children, which signaled that the document had been corrected.
We organized an online meeting with Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, a world-renowned author and speaker on family relationships and parenting.
At the end of May we participated in the three-day international conference “Demography and Culture of Relationships in Couples”, organized by Family Sience Alliance, supported by the Ministry of Human Resources of Hungary and with the participation of their Minister for Family Affairs. During it we shared about the importance of marriage and family and how we can encourage them.
In June, we launched the “Vote for the Family” initiative for family-promoting policies in connection with the forthcoming parliamentary elections, in order to see and acquaint the public with the candidates for MPs who are publicly committed to promoting and protecting human dignity and freedom, marriage and the family. More than 125 parliamentary candidates from a total of six political formations backed the declaration on family-promoting policies in the next parliament.
That same month, we sent an opinion to the Constitutional Court on the consequences for children, women and society of redefining gender in connection with the case of its meaning. In it we pointed out the consequences of similar policies in other countries, the documentary “Transgender issues”, which we translated into Bulgarian, and the collected support for the petition on the occasion.
In August, we sent a statement in defense of freedom of speech to the Council of Europe on the draft recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to combat “hate speech”.
At the end of the month, we briefed the media on the report of the European Center for Law and Justice, based on a large-scale study that highlighted the financial ties of a number of UN Human Rights Council experts to foundations and private organizations.
In September, we sent letters to Bulgarian MEPs regarding a resolution aimed at drafting a mandatory directive on gender-based violence by the EC.
In October, we launched an open letter-petition to the government, requesting compliance with our Constitution, on the occasion of the EU directive on gender-based violence and its inclusion as a new area of crime in the EU, which in January 2022 will be proposed to the Council of the EU. You can support the petition at: https://civilactionbg.com/stop-eu-gender-directive/
A great victory for all of us was the ruling of the Constitutional Court on October 26, in which the court concluded that: “According to the Constitution, the term ‘sex’ should be understood only in its biological sense.” The decision quotes our opinion before the court in two places, in which we point out the consequences of gender reassignment in other countries and the collected support of the petition on the occasion, from 2450 citizens and 31 organizations.
At the beginning of December, we informed the media about the positive changes in the ECHR as a result of the report highlighting the conflict of interest in court and the actions taken.
We sent a letter to our MEPs, the parties represented in parliament in the National Assembly and the media, in connection with erroneous allegations about the Istanbul Convention in the media.
In the middle of the month, we submitted a petition, supported by more than 2,380 people and 36 organizations, in connection with the European Commission’s gender directive, which aims to circumvent the provisions of the Istanbul Convention.
During the year we participated in many meetings, events, TV and radio shows related to marriage, family, children’s and parents’ rights, freedom of speech. We prepared articles, translated materials, informed the media about important developments, incl. and the consequences of policies against children, women, the family, freedom of expression, etc. We reached out and informed thousands of our supporters several times a month through our newsletter.
For the tenth year we helped to celebrate the International Marriage Week in our country, from 7 to 14 February to hold various events on the occasion of the initiative, incl. of the fifth edition of the School for Successful Marriage, as well as in the media.
During the Marriage Week we had a talk with students, at the invitation of one of the capital’s universities. The initiative was widely covered in the media, where we had the opportunity to share about the benefits of healthy marriages and families, for the partners, the children and the society and how we could promote them. More about the events from February 7 to 14, 2022 and how you could get involved, see www.brak.bg.
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The team of the Society and Values Association