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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
Fr. Mark Hodges

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaking to World Congress of Families next month

Fr. Mark Hodges

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, September 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The largest pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family gathering in the world is taking place in Salt Lake City.

The ninth congress of the World Congress of Families (WCF) will meet October 27-30 at The Grand America Hotel, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert will speak at the gathering. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will also participate in the conference, which is a global gathering of parents, youths, lawmakers, scholars, religious leaders, and advocates united to support the natural family.

It is the twentieth anniversary of the WCF, which exists "to affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society." "This year's World Congress of Families IX will be a gathering of foremost experts – scholars, government leaders, clergy, and other advocates of the family," Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director of WCF9, said. 

"I cannot think of another leader as prominent as Governor Herbert who has been more supportive of the family, as well as the welfare and future of our children," Crouse added.  "He is an advocate for life. His policies support parents supporting children in all dimensions, and that is what we are going to highlight in this congress – everything from health care and financial management to human trafficking and overcoming addictions and other behaviors that weaken marital and parent-child relationships."

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"Strong families are vital to strong societies," Gov. Herbert said. "The value of a loving family cannot be understated."

Crouse also had high praise for the attorney general. "Attorney General Reyes has spearheaded an innovative program to protect Utah children and families from abuse," she said. "The experience and policy prescriptions from the governor and attorney general will be welcome, as will their personal experiences with parenting, as both are fathers of six children!"

The World Congress of Families is a project of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, founded by Allan Carlson, a pro-family advocate.

In their "Natural Family: A Manifesto," Carlson and Paul Mero of the Sutherland Institute speak of supporting large families and strengthening natural gender roles for fathers and mothers. The Manifesto speaks of gay "marriage" and easy divorce laws as part of a "war on human fertility" and states that one of its goals is to "end the war of the sexual hedonists on marriage."

"We will craft schooling that gives positive images of chastity, marriage, fidelity, motherhood, fatherhood, husbandry, and housewifery," the Manifesto adds. "We will end the corruption of children through state 'sex education' programs."

Among the many speakers are the National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown, Peter Sprigg and Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council, Sharon Slater of Family Watch International, and University of Texas at Austin sociology professor Mark Regnerus of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Also speaking will be pro-family advocates Ignacio Arsuaga of Spain and Luca Volante of Italy.

Additional speakers will include columnist Don Feder, Live Action's Lila Rose, Duke University Medical School's Dr. Monique Chireau, Human Life International's Stephen Phelan, Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life, Fr. Josiah Trenham of the Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church's Director of Family and Life Fr. Maxim Obukhov, Dean Dr. Chad Hatfield of Saint Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary, and Theresa Okafor of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage, as well as many other speakers.

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