April 01, 2019
Verona, Italy -- famous as the setting of Shakespeare's fictional Romeo and Juliet -- dubs itself "The City of Love." This past weekend, it was the love of the natural family that was celebrated, as Verona played host to the 13th World Congress of Families (WCF), drawing together representatives of pro-family groups from around the globe. The event drew controversy, with one liberal dubbing the organizers' beliefs "medieval" -- criticisms that Congress chairman Antonio Brandi lamented amounted to a "witch hunt."
Nevertheless, government leaders from the city of Verona (whose city council and mayor, Federico Sboarina, have declared it a "pro-life city"), and from its province of Veneto, stood by their decision to welcome the WCF. And despite criticisms even from partners in the current governing coalition, Italy's Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini and cabinet ministers Marco Bussetti (for Education) and Lorenzo Fontana (for Family and Disabilities) braved protesters to address the Congress.
Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg represented Family Research Council at the event, participating in a panel on "Legal and Ethical Challenges Facing the Natural Family" and making a presentation titled "Sexual Orientation Can Change: The Myth of 'Immutability,'" based on his just-released Issue Analysis. Peter's ethical challenge to participants was for all sides in the culture war to use honest social science and research -- not to promote their agenda using myths like the discredited idea that "sexual orientation can never change." (Ironically, Peter's may have been the only presentation at the entire event that explicitly addressed sexual orientation. But these days, merely celebrating families headed by a mother and a father is enough for headline writers to deem an event "anti-LGBT.")
The event ended with a March for the Family through the streets of Verona, and the European premiere of the new pro-life film Unplanned. As the organizers had declared, "the wind of change" is blowing through Europe -- for the future belongs to those who embrace the natural birth of children and the natural family.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.