So much for free speech, open exchange of ideas in the U.S.? Well, to be clear, obviously no one has an absolute right to hold a meeting in the US Senate Office Buildings, but the World Congress of Families had received sponsorship from Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) to hold a conference on the family. The Human Rights Campaign, it is reported, pressured Kirk to cancel the meeting, which he did. He is my US Senator, so I called his Washington office, and a staffer told me they were aware of the story but had “no comment” to make about it. So here is the World Congress of Families’ press release (disclosure: FSJ is a sponsoring organization of the WCF)–

World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs said he was appalled that U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R, Il.) bowed to the demands of radical sexual extremists and cancelled the use of the Dirksen Senate Office Building for a pro-family symposium.

Kirk’s office had reserved a room at Dirksen for a Family in America symposium titled “Family Policy Lessons From Other Lands: What Should America Learn?” The Senator caved in to pressure from the Human Rights Campaign – which promotes the redefinition of marriage for same-sex couples and special rights for so-called “LGBTQI” individuals including transgenders – and withdrew his sponsorship of the room at Dirksen.

Thanks to the timely intervention of House Speaker John Boehner, a room was secured in the Longworth House Office Building and the symposium went ahead as planned on November 15th.

Speakers included Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, and Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. The moderator was Dr. Allan C. Carlson, Ph.D., President of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society (which publishes The Family in America quarterly) and International Secretary of the World Congress of Families.

Jacobs commented: “HRC acted as if the forum was intended solely to support Russia’s widely misunderstood 2010 child protection law which bans heterosexual indecency and pornography and whose amendments to add non-traditional sexual relations were enacted overwhelmingly by the Duma in June.  Actually, the presentations and the journal discussed covered a broad range of family policy initiatives from all over the world to help the natural family, including the promotion of marriage and large families, parent’s rights, the promotion of home-schooling, the encouragement of family-owned businesses, the benefits of religious faith, the protection of women and children from human trafficking, and the legal protection of life from conception to natural death – such as the Russian anti-abortion law passed in 2011 that bans abortion for babies older than 12 weeks and requires that 10% of advertising be used to warn women of the health risks of abortion, including infertility, cancer, and death.”

For detailed analysis and research of many family policy issues in America and around the world, read the summer issue of The Family In America: A Journal of Public Policy, online at www.familyinamerica.org.

Jacobs continued: “It is shocking that a United States Senator would bow to pressure from these militants and refuse to facilitate the discussion of vital issues affecting children, family, life, and the economy.  Groups like HRC have set themselves up as arbiters of what may or may not be discussed at public forums. Instead of meeting us in the marketplace of ideas, they take the low road of smears and intimidation, seeking to foreclose the healthy debate that’s vital to a democracy.”

“The Congress is part of the United States government, and – as such – should be open to all points of view.  What other groups would HRC like to keep from exercising their First Amendment rights in this regard – the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, most African-American churches, all of which disagree with the sexual radicals on one or more family issues?”

World Congress of Families urges its constituents and other concerned Americans to contact Senator Mark Kirk’s office  – 524 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510, Phone: 202-224-2854, Fax: 202-228-4611 – to protest his actions.

World Congress of Families VIII with the theme “Every Child A Gift: Large Families, the Future of Humanity” will be held in Moscow, September 10-12, 2014.  The opening session of WCF VIII will be in the Congress Hall of the Kremlin Palace.  A special WCF parliamentary session will also be held in the Russian Duma and special scientific forum at Lomonosov Moscow State University. The closing ceremony will be held at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. For more information visit the Russian websites at www.worldcongress.ru.