Saturday 8 January 2011

More evidence is emerging that the EU's human rights agency is anti-family

More evidence is emerging that the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) is actively undermining the protection of life and family in Europe. Dr Jakob Cornides, a lawyer-author who spoke at SPUC's 2008 national conference, has written a paper entitled "Human rights pitted against man (II) – the network is back", which follows his 2008 paper on the same theme and which exposes the FRA's agenda. In September 2009 SPUC's Pat Buckley warned how the European Parliament was using the FRA to put pressure on EU member-states to change laws which protect children. Now the FRA is moving to undermine the institution of the family by seeking to entrench support for same-sex unions.* The Southern Cross Bioethics Institute (SCBI) has kindly provided SPUC with the following review below of Dr Cornides' paper:

1. This paper by Jakob Cornides follows an earlier paper he wrote in 2008. That paper was prompted by an opinion provided by an EU network of experts who, relying on work by radical pro-abortion groups like the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), argued for a right to abortion and the ceding of the right to conscientious objection to abortion. Cornides's main point was that radical lobby groups, coupled with like-minded EU appointed ‘experts’, are undermining genuine human rights and thereby subverting the common good.
2. The present paper is essentially a response to the same sort of subversion, in this case to extend throughout the European Union the legal benefits of marriage to all same sex couples.
3. The newly formed EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) recently published a study entitled “Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation in the EU Member States”. Expertise for the study was provided by FRALEX (Fundamental Rights Agency Legal Experts), a significant number of whom were also members of the now defunct network of experts who argued for a right to abortion.
4. The strategy used by both the expounders for a right to abortion and by those for the right to marriage status for same sex couples is essentially the same – pretend that the rights already exist and thereby avoid real public debate and democratic decision-making.
5. FRALEX holds a position of considerable power. Cornides notes that it is funded to the tune of at least 10 million Euros over 4 years, likely involves 100 staff, “receives broad media coverage”, and has “unique access to political institutions”. “FRALEX is now in an exclusive and very powerful position to feed its ideology into the law-making process of the EU and the member states.”
6. FRALEX’s study on Homophobia makes the claim that “International human rights law requires that same-sex couples either have access to an institution … which provides them with the same advantages as ... marriage”, and if states don’t provide such an institution, they must nevertheless extend the advantages to all same-sex relationships which have “a sufficient degree of permanency”. Cornides exposes the nonsense in any claim that international human rights law requires any such thing, and furthermore, argues that FRALEX’s findings are intrinsically flawed and ironically would in fact curtail the rights of same-sex couples in some EU states if implemented.
7. Typical of the tactics used by the FRALEX experts is their reference to the case of Joslin v. New Zealand by the UN Human Rights Committee. In that case all 15 members agreed that there is no treaty obligation on states parties to provide for same-sex marriage, yet FRALEX focuses on opinions given by two members rather than the committee's actual decision, which was unanimous.
8. Cornides argues (convincingly) that FRALEX has a ‘creative’ approach to statistics. There have been few successful complaints about discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation; for example, in the UK, 1324 complaints were made for 2003-6 and 35 succeeded. FRALEX argue that “fewer registered complaints clearly does not mean that there is less discrimination”. They provide no evidence to back up such an important statement. Even so, believing the problem to exist, FRALEX proposes the establishment of ‘equality bodies’ which could act on their own initiative, or from anonymous complaints, using trained lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff. Cornides’ concern is that there is a real risk that “the creation of specialized agencies could be tantamount to creating, or at least considerably inflating, the problem that such agencies purport to counter, and for which, so far, any evidence of its magnitude or very existence is lacking.”
9. The term homophobia, central to the FRALEX study, is itself problematic. Cornides discusses the nature of real phobias and how the term homophobia is often used in a “defamatory and totalitarian way” to imply that anyone opposed to the equivalence of all sexual orientations is either “mentally disordered” (possesses a phobia) or “intrinsically evil” (akin to racist).
10. The central issue that should really have been addressed by a study such as that conducted by FRALEX concerns the nature of marriage itself, and whether there really can be equivalence between opposite and same sex relationships. Cornides notes that it is telling that “not a single organization representing the interests, or benefits to society, of traditional families, attended a roundtable meeting organized to discuss follow-up to the FRALEX study.” How can something so fundamental to society receive such biased input?
11. In summary, Cornides's concerns are really twofold. First, that radical groups are attempting to redefine human rights by subversive means, thereby foisting on sovereign countries something to which they have not democratically agreed. And second, that in the FRALEX study sexuality is portrayed and promoted in a particular manner that is detached from its broader meaning. This narrow conception of sexuality has the potential to damage marriage and therefore the stability of families and communities.

*The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught (Evangelium Vitae, 1995, para.97) it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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