Pro-Marriage Group Attends European Conference on Same-Sex Unions

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNS) - Representatives of a Washington, D.C., group that seeks to defend the traditional definition of marriage are attending a legal conference on same-sex marriage in the United Kingdom - after shaking up attendees by releasing a declaration of legal scholars affirming their support for marriage between one man and one woman.

The Marriage Law Project, which operates out of the Catholic University of America''s Columbus School of Law in Washington, sponsored "To Reaffirm Marriage," a paper signed by 164 law professors from around the world released two days before the conference began at King''s College Law School in London.

"We are united in the conviction," the professors said, "that the legal definition of marriage, as the union of a man and a woman, should not be changed."

David Orgon Coolidge, director of the Project, told from London that he plans to distribute copies of "To Reaffirm Marriage" at the conference, entitled "Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Partnerships: A Conference on National, European and International Law."

Already, the presence of representatives from the Project has been noted by conference attendees, including Evan Wolfson, senior staff attorney and Marriage Project director for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

"They made sure that everyone knew that we were in the audience and taken notes. . . . We''ve not gone unnoticed," said Coolidge.

Coolidge told that the professors who signed "To Reaffirm Marriage" wanted to make it clear to the world that the legal community is far from being united behind same-sex marriage.

"Basically, we wanted to make it clear that [conference attendees] speak for themselves, but not for everybody," said Coolidge. "There are many legal minds out there who say that marriage should be one man and one woman, and aren''t afraid to say so."

"Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage," which started Thursday and runs until Saturday, features legal scholars from universities around the world, including Supreme Court justices from Canada, Australia, and South Africa, members of various European parliaments, judges from across the continent, and Judge Deborah Batts of the U.S. District Court for Manhattan.

Coolidge said that "To Reaffirm Marriage" holds that, in contrast to same-sex marriage supporters who hold that equal rights and justice for all can never be achieved until same-sex marriage is legalized, weakening the concept of traditional marriage would weaken civilization itself - threatening justice and the rule of law for all.

"Marriage and family are the foundation of society and the very foundation of liberty and justice and equality that are guaranteed by political society," Coolidge told "To threaten marriage is to threaten the very underpinnings of the whole idea of justice."