Explanation of Vote on Resolution on Protection of the Family

A/HRC/35/L.21

Explanation of Vote by the United States of America
As Delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council, 35th Session

The United States is disappointed to have to vote against the resolution before us today.  The sponsors of this text were unwilling to take essential edits presented by a diverse group of countries, seeking to ensure that the resolution properly recognized the diversity of family types we find around the world.

The family plays an important role within society, and we have come to observe that the nature and role of the family adapt over time while the family retains its fundamental value.  We agree with the sentiment in the resolution that recognizes the important role that families play in society.  We also appreciate the emphasis on the human rights of older persons in this resolution.  However, the United States believes that discussions at the United Nations must consider all types of loving families that exist today, be those families headed by one mother and father, a single parent, a same-sex couple, grandparents, or the many other family structures that provide essential support for raising children and assisting in caring for the elderly.

In addition, it is essential that we not lose focus on the fundamental primacy of ensuring the human rights of all family members.  While the family as a unit, in all of its various forms, plays a key role in society, human rights belong to individuals, not the family unit.  Resolutions like the one presented fail to give sufficient weight to the importance of ensuring that the human rights of all individuals in all families are supported and protected.