Will the European Parliament abolish the notions of father and mother?

False – the statement is untrue, there is no evidence to support it, the author is lying or unintentionally sharing misleading information.

On Thursday 14 December, MEPs will vote on a EU Council legislation aimed at preventing cases where one EU member state recognises a child’s parental rights but others do not. With the vote approaching, the website NRA.lv published a misleading article stating that the European Parliament would abolish the concept of a “father” and a “mother”. Although the text of the legislation does not say anything of the kind, this fallacy was also repeated by Member of the Parliament of Latvia Andris Kulbergs (Apvienotais saraksts party).

Last December, the European Commission presented a draft law which proposes that the parental status and rights recognised in one EU member state should be recognised in others. This would also apply to same-sex families with children. Article 46 of the legislation also proposes creating a European Parenthood Certificate (EPC) – a document by which in another country a child or their legal representative can prove that they are their parent. The certificate would be available on request and would be optional. It would also not replace internal documents used in member states for a similar purpose, such as birth certificates.

As stated on the European Parliament’s website, “governments will not have to change their national rules on parenthood, such as accepting surrogacy, but they would have to accept parenthood established by another EU country irrespective of how the child was conceived, born or the type of family it has.” It states that it is the sole competence of member states to adopt basic rules on family law, such as the definition of family and rules on establishing parental status. However, the EU may adopt measures covering aspects of family law that have cross-border implications. As the explanatory text of the legislation points out, children can currently legally lose their parents when they enter another member state and the legislation aims to prevent this. 

The MP Andris Kulbergs published a post on the platform X, previously known as Twitter, that suggested that in future parents would not be a father and a mother, but parent No 1 and parent No 2, and that he disagrees with that. Kulbergs wrote:

“Here you have the immediate result of the approval of partnerships, the Istanbul Convention. Once again, the ‘Minority Rules’ law wins. Because of the minority the majority has to submit, change laws, change habits… forgive me, I was, am and WILL be a father not a parent number 1 or 2… Then No. 2 will be discriminated against because he will be No. 2 and not No. 1.”

Source: screenshot from X

Similar posts were also published on social media by Kulbergs’ political comrade MP Linda Matisone and Ainārs Šlesers, the leader of the party Latvija pirmajā vietā (Latvia First).*

Source: screenshot from X

The politicians cited an article on NRA.lv as the source of the information. The headline of the article stated that the EP will “abolish the father and the mother” and that “from now on there will be parent No 1 and parent No 2”.

Source: screenshot from NRA.lv

Excerpt from the NRA.lv article:

“In fact, this initiative was one of the key actions of the EU strategy to strengthen LGBTQ equality. Already on Thursday, the EP will vote on the supposed ‘regulation of children’s rights’, but in reality it will be on the formal introduction of the concepts of ‘parent No 1’ and ‘parent No 2’.”

The legislation does not speak about abolishing the concept of the mother or the father. The text doesn’t speak about a “parent No 1” nor “parent No 2”, nor any other form of these terms. Perhaps the root of the fallacy is an amendment to the legislation recommended by the European Parliament: in some places, the words “father or mother” have been replaced by “parent”. The draft law also includes the terms father and mother. 

When Re:Check called Kulbergs to ask where do the terms “parent No 1” and “parent No 2” appear in the legislation, the MP did not give an answer, but admitted that he had not read it himself: “I referred to the article. I did not refer to the legislation. Nowhere I say that I am referring to the legislation. I refer to the article.” The MP did not give a meaningful answer to a question sent by text message, asking what habits the legislation would require him to change and how he would have to adapt. However, the MP said that there was a common trend in Europe “where the traditional understanding of parenthood in the context of children is being changed without much consideration” and he disagrees with that.

Elita Veidemane, the author of the NRA.lv article, refused to answer our questions: “Please read [the text] carefully and do not ask me any more of these kinds of questions. All the best.”

In his post, Kulbergs also said that the legislation was “the immediate result of the approval of partnerships, the Istanbul Convention.” The Istanbul Convention is an international treaty developed by the Council of Europe to prevent violence against women and domestic violence. It is not an EU law and therefore has no direct link to the legislation under question. 

After Parliament’s vote, the final decision on the legislation will be taken unanimously by member states, as family law falls under national jurisdiction, so states the European Parliament.

Conclusion: The EU Council draft law on the recognition of parental status does not intend to abolish the concept of the mother and the father, replacing them with parent numbers 1 and 2. The legislation is not linked to the Istanbul Convention.

Article updated on 23.10.2023.

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