“The most informed, perceptive, and effective defender of authentic family values in the United States.” — Dr. James Hitchcock, St. Louis University

“Has a huge impact around the world.” — Ellen Sauerbrey, former head of U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration

Profile, Principles, Projects


We unite and empower leaders worldwide with over 40 partner organizations and a reach of over 50 million people.


We defend:
  • The natural family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, established by the Creator as the “fundamental unit of society,” the foundation of civilization, and the best refuge and school for children.
  • Children’s need for a mother and a father in a functional, loving family, and their right “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”
  • The sanctity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death.
  • Religious freedom as essential to the flourishing of family and society.


Our work includes:
  • World Congress of Families events (and related regional conferences), the world’s largest and most influential gatherings of pro-family leaders.
  • The Family in America, our acclaimed academic journal, and related news service.
  • Partnership program and related newsletter and leadership memos.
  • United Nations work with ambassadors and delegates to defend life, faith, and family.
  • Research and publications, including declarations, articles, speeches, and books.

World Congress of Families Project

Introducing World Congress of Families (pdf)

Our flagship project, the World Congress of Families, has gathered and inspired pro-family leaders from around the globe for two decades.

"The World Congress is doing the most important work in the world, protecting God’s plan for humanity through the most important institution of society," said a prominent leader. One of our major opponents (SIECUS) called the World Congress “arguably the most prominent international meeting of opposition forces” in the world.

Join us for the tenth World Congress of Families in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 15-18th, 2016.

“The West is attacking our Christian culture with atheism, new forms of socialism and sexual radicalism—worse than what we saw during the last 25 years when we were part of the Soviet empire. This is why we need you to come to Tbilisi and work with us.”
Levan Vasadze

World Congress of Families IX

“This Congress fielded some of the world’s leading pro-life and pro-family advocates during four days of strategic networking and inspirational presentations that re-energized the global pro-family movement. It was the best Congress so far and signals a resurgence in the global battle for the defense of the natural family.” Errol Naidoo, South Africa

See entire program or highlights below:

Family Lights the World

Brian Brown: A Time to Move Forward

Cathy Ruse: Defending Marriage and Freedom

Wendy Ulrich: Stages of Marriage

Everett Piper: Remarks at Closing Ceremony

News and Views

Coming Soon!

World Congress of Families X, Tbilisi, May 15-18 - Information and Registration

Howard Center Commentary

What We Stand For.
“You have enemies? Good,” wrote Winston Churchill. “That means you’ve stood up for something.” The World Congress of Families (dba of the Howard Center) continues to be assailed for unapologetically standing up for something — something important, something indispensable, something under increasing attack by those who mislabel our work. But all the misleading labels in the world cannot change the reality of who we are. “Facts are stubborn things,” observed John Adams, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Here are the stubborn facts about the World Congress of Families.
Read more

International Day of Families: Mayday!
By proclamation of the UN General Assembly, May 15th is designated as the annual International Day of Families. The UN background note on this year’s observance rightly emphasizes the critical role of the family in achieving the newly enacted Sustainable Development Goals of, among other things, ending poverty, increasing prosperity, and furthering social development. But in light of the incessant attacks on the natural family, it would be appropriate to herald this coming day in May using the word for the international distress call: Mayday!
Read more

World Congress of Families: Making a Difference! If the only thing you knew about Winston Churchill is that the very mention of his name infuriated Hitler, you could thereby deduce that Churchill somehow stood between the Nazi tyrant and his megalomaniac ambition. Likewise, if the only thing you knew about the World Congress of Families is that our most recent Congress was listed by Planned Parenthood as its third worst moment of 2015, you would thereby know that we are making a huge difference.
Read more

A Time to Act. Mississippi Just Did. On April 5, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act… Among the predictable rants was the response by the Human Rights Campaign, which vowed that Mississippi “will suffer because of his ignorance and failure of leadership.” Failure of leadership? Au contraire, as the French say. The Governor’s action is leadership at its finest and boldest, manifesting, in the words of the bill’s sponsor, “courage and foresight.”
Read more

Natural Family News & Research

Marriage Better than Therapy. A study at Ohio State shows that marriage offers even greater psychological advantages to depressed men and women than it does to their mentally healthy peers. The researchers conjecture that marriage may give a depressed person the sense that he or she matters to a spouse and to new social ties.
Read more

The Terrible Cost of Divorce in Cyprus—and Elsewhere. Alarmed by the rising divorce rate and its negative impact on children, Cyprus legislators are considering the creation of a mediation service to deter divorce. Meanwhile, a study by scholars from Virginia and Tokyo reveals that divorce is a stronger predictor of mental illness than is parental death.
Read more

Marriage and Children in the Land of the Vikings. What would a society look like without marriage? With 67% of all babies born to unwed mothers, Iceland may be showing the world the answer to that question.
Read more


The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy

Strong Families, Prosperous States, by W. Bradford Wilcox. From Hollywood to the halls of academia, we often hear the message that marriage doesn’t matter. Kids and families, we are told, need not enjoy the shelter and security of a married home to thrive. The only problem with this new conventional wisdom about marriage and family life is that it’s not true.
Read more

New Research on Mother-Infant Bonding, by Miriam Grossman. One place it is easy to see evidence of a Divine Creator is in the science of procreation and the bond between mother and infant. The biology is awesome.
Read more

Father Gone, Social Capital Scarce. Family disintegration depletes the social capital available to young people.
Read more


Effects of Marriage on Society. Marriage is the foundational relationship of strong societies. Within a family formed from an intact marriage, the child better learns to value and perform the fundamental tasks every competent adult must master— the tasks of the fundamental institutions needed in every functional society.
Read more

You Won’t Read This in the Mainstream Media. Women deserve to know the science that affects them: Marriage provides important benefits to women, whereas abortion poses significant risks to mothers and their children. We invite you to dig deeper.
Read more

Effects of Religious Practice on Society. Social science research indicates that permitting and accommodating free religious practice is necessary for societies to continue moving in positive directions.
Read more

From Our Partners

Same-Sex Marriage? Answering the Toughest Questions, by National Organization for Marriage
Read more

Parental Vigilance, Not Political Activism, by Erin Weist on United Families International
Read more

Kindred Spirits: How one family is relying on faith and each other in the face of government persecution, by Alliance Defending Freedom
Read more

Secretary General Backdoors Abortion, LGBT Rights into UN Humanitarian Goals, by Susan Yoshihara of C-Fam
Read more

The War on Children: Exposing the Comprehensive Sexuality Education Agenda, Video by Family Watch International
Read more

Allan C. Carlson
President Emeritus

The Natural Family in an Unnatural World

"It seems clear that the family system of the whole of what we once called Christian Civilization is in crisis. Historically low birth rates, the rapid spread of cohabitation, the legal dismantling of the institution of marriage, the early sexualization of children, and climbing divorce are signs of a fundamental challenge to the life of the home.” Read more

Janice Shaw Crouse
Board Member

The Glue of Marriage that
Holds Society Together

“When dysfunctional behavior and breakdowns in the fabric of society commonly occur because of a deficit of moral guidance, secularist thinkers cling to the false hope that they can fix the absence of personal responsibility and self-control through more and more government intervention and federal control.” Read more

Dallin H. Oaks
Honorary Board Member

Preserving Religious Freedom
(speech to Chapman University
School of Law)

“A few generations ago the idea that religious organizations and religious persons would be unwelcome in the public square would have been unthinkable. Now, such arguments are prominent enough to cause serious concern. It is not difficult to see a conscious strategy to neutralize the influence of religion and churches and religious motivations on any issues that could be characterized as public policy. As noted by John A. Howard of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, the proponents of banishment 'have developed great skills in demonizing those who disagree with them, turning their opponents into objects of fear, hatred and scorn.'" Read more

Luca Volontè
Board Member

European Resistance to Cultural Suicide

“Many centuries ago, St. Columbanus said that there is no fight without a rival, and no crown without a fight. Today as in the past, we carry on this fight with the same simplicity—not only in Europe, but all around the world. We can rejoice in the invitation to join it.” Read more

Tools and Resources

Now Available!

Family Cycles

By Dr. Allan C. Carlson

“A brilliant history and analysis of the most important building blocks of civilization: marriage and the family.”
J. R. Edwards, Choice

See also Allan’s Amazon author page.

Marriage Matters

By Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse

“A must-read, fact-driven contribution to our understanding of the importance of marriage for the individual, the family, and society. It’s all here, laid out clearly and convincingly.” —Barrett Duke, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

The Family in the United Nations

Statement by the World Congress of Families

“The family, as the only group unit recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as having rights, ‘is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.’ The family thus exists prior to the State, which is obligated to protect the family as the keystone of human rights and the irreplaceable foundation of civilization. Accordingly, international commitments repeatedly address the nature and role of the family…”
Read more.

Carlson Collection Highlights

Allan Carlson is “a wise man and a patriot” (Transaction) and “one of the most prestigious and respected scholars in the field” (Bill Kauffman).



The Family in America

"The most incisive guide to issues facing the American family today . . . An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to stay on the cutting edge of research on family trends."
-W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia

World Family Declaration

“We declare that the family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity…” Read more

The Natural Family: A Manifesto

“Demands the attention of all those who would defend civilization’s most basic institution.”
Albert Mohler, Jr. 


Powerful online social science encyclopedia on all matters related to family, marriage, religion, and sexuality. A joint project of MARRI and the World Congress of Families.

U.N. Negotiating Guide





“A phenomenal store of needed documentation, indexing and cross-referencing of U.N. documents relating to the family…. Invaluable…. a godsend.”  Read more...

The Family and the MDGs

(click to download)


Our groundbreaking work on the indispensable role of family in sustainable development, introduced by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar.

Introductory Video