Special Report: Constitutions of the World

The following text is adapted from The World Family Declaration, an initiative of the World Congress of Families. Opening with the words “We the people of many lands and cultures,” the Declaration is grounded in Article 16(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” That language is echoed in 111 national constitutions, many of which repeat it verbatim. The examples below may give practical guidance to any involved in the monumental and important work of shaping a new constitution, but also will give the interested reader a better idea of what real constitutions around the world have to say on the topic of family.1 ~The Editors AFGHANISTAN: “Family is the fundamental pillar of the society, and shall be protected by the state. The state shall adopt necessary measures to attain the physical and spiritual health of the family, especially of the child and mother.” Chapter 2, Article 54. ALBANIA: “Marriage and family enjoy special protection of the state.” Part 2, Chapter 4, Article 53.2. ALGERIA: “The family shall enjoy the protection of the State and of the society.” Part 1, Chapter 4, Article 58. ANDORRA: “The public authorities shall promote a policy of protection of the family, which is the basic foundation of society.” Title 2, Chapter 3, Article 13.2. ANGOLA: “The family is the basic nucleus of social organisation and shall be the object of special protection by the state.” Title 2, Chapter 2, Section 1, Article 35.1. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: “Every person in Antigua and Barbuda is entitled to . . . protection for his family life.” Chapter 2, Article 3.c. ARMENIA: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society.” Chapter 2, Article 35. BELARUS: “Marriage, the family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood shall be under the protection of the State.” Section 2, Article 32. BENIN: “The State shall protect the family and particularly the mother and child.” Title 2, Article 26. BOLIVIA: “The State recognizes and protects the family as the fundamental nucleus of society, and guarantees the economic and social conditions necessary for its full development . . . The marriage between a man and a woman is formed by legal bond.” Section 6, Articles 62 and 63.1. BRAZIL: “The family, which is the foundation of society, shall enjoy special protection from the State.” Title 8, Chapter 7, Article 226. BULGARIA: “The family, motherhood, and childhood shall enjoy the protection of the State and society. . . . Matrimony shall be a voluntary union between a man and a woman.” Chapter 1, Article 14, and Chapter 2, Article 46(1). BURKINA FASO: “The family is the basic unit of society. The State has the duty to protect it. Marriage is founded on the free consent of the man and of the woman.” Title 1, Chapter 4, Arti
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