If, in spite of these concerns, a complete formal equality of women were legally established, such legislation would simultaneously have the tendency to dissolve the existing privileges of women and the protection they still have today.
In regard to children, the Commission, like the Council of the Protestant Church in Germany, cannot relinquish the father’s decision-making power as it would, at the most, the husband’s decision-making power in the relationship of the spouses to each other. The easily understood relationship of parents to children, the crucial aspect of the welfare of the child, the decision of the united family for the sake of the child’s welfare – these things are accessible to legislation and, unlike the husband’s decision-making power within marriage, have already been largely assessed by the judiciary.
The family is the birthplace of authority and thus of freedom. After the unsettling of patriarchal authority over the course of the last centuries, after the unsettling of male authority in National Socialism and militarism, our nation faces the serious threat of men’s flight from responsibility. Every father bears his responsibility before God. Flight to the decision of the guardianship judge would promise the danger of the father’s flight from responsibility before God. In the face of these developments, we urgently advise against completely dissolving the legal expression of fatherhood.
Source: Stellungnahme der Eherechtskommission der Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) zu dem Entwurf eines Familienrechtsgesetzes (Dezember 1952) [The Position of the Marriage Law Commission of the Protestant Church in Germany on the Draft Version of a Family Law (December 1952)], BA/Bestand Nachlaß Lüders; reprinted in Klaus-Jörg Ruhl, ed., Frauen in der Nachkriegszeit 1945-1963 [Women in the Postwar Era, 1945-1963]. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, 1988, pp. 165-70.
Translation: Thomas Dunlap