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European Citizens' Initiative launched to protect marriage

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A petition has been launched today to defend true marriage and family across Europe. 

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) Mums, Dads and Kids aims to protect the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. It is supported by Christian Concern and other pro-marriage groups. 

Citizens from across EU member states are invited to add their signature supporting a definition of marriage and family that aims to promote family life.  

Protection of marriage and family within EU legislation 

A European citizens’ initiative is "an invitation to the European Commission to propose legislation on matters where the EU has competence to legislate". The petition must be backed by a minimum of one million people across at least seven member states, with a minimum number of signatories required in each member state.

The ECI to protect family was registered on 11 December 2015 by the European Commission, and was launched today. 

It calls for citizens to support the following definitions:

Marriage – a permanent and faithful union of man and woman with the purpose of founding a family. 

Family – a father, a mother, and their children. 

Family relationship – the legal relationship between two spouses, or between a parent and a child.

The ECI proposes that these definitions should be adopted for the purpose of EU legislation, based on the smallest common denominator among the member states.

Please visit the website to add your signature here.

You can also download a paper form, found on the website, which can be distributed in your church or amongst your family and friends. 

The petition will be open until 3 April 2017. 

Bid to clarify legislation 

Under Article 9 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, member states are given discretion as to national legislation on marriage and family.

The ECI aims to clarify the definition of marriage in a way that represents a view that is echoed across many member states: That marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. 

Although it would not change national law, the initiative would affect cross-border EU law on issues such as access to benefits and human rights, which are informed by the concept of marriage and family.

Find out more about the initiative on the Mums, Dads and Kids website.

Concern from EU officials

The initiative has been met with objection by EU officials. 

Yet in January of this year, the EU’s chief lawyer said that there are no legal grounds for rejecting the Mums, Dads and Kids proposal. 

In light of this, EU chiefs then indicated they wished to review the ECI scheme, claiming it may have negative "political consequences" and that it will not "move the European project forward".

'We fully back this initiative'

At the time, Chief Executive of Christian Concern Andrea Williams commented:

"We fully back this initiative that seeks to voice the long held conviction that marriage is the life-long union of one man and one woman. EU officials have downplayed this important move by dismissing it as a 'minority issue'. 

"The European citizens’ initiative was created to give a voice and power to the people. Now officials are trying to take away the platform because they recognise the power of the people. This is disturbing to them, especially when it conflicts with their radical liberal agenda.

"They used the political machinery to kill off the previous European citizens’ initiative that sought to give the embryo ‘personhood’, despite over one million signatures collected.

"Now, once again, they are misusing their political power, because the viewpoints expressed by the citizens of Europe are uncomfortable and inconvenient for them and the radical, secular agenda they propagate.

"We shall press on with this brave initiative."

Please sign the petition online or print a form from the website.