The breakdown of traditional family units is causing "an epidemic of social problems," the World Congress of Families (WCF) told delegates at its conference in Melbourne this weekend.
WCF describes itself as "pro-family" and is known for its anti-abortion, anti-gay stance. Its annual conference was this year hosted by Catch the Fire, and attracted a wave of protestors who attempted to barricade the doors each day, heckling attendees.
On the final day of the conference on Saturday, WCF director Larry Jacobs linked the increase of non-traditional family structures to poverty around the world, the Guardian reports.
Jacobs defined marriage as the "lifelong union of one man and one woman, raising their children in a loving and nurturing way." The congress refers to this as the "Natural" family unit.
"We believe that sex should be within that union. Fifty years ago, we wouldn't have had to explain this," Jacobs declared.
"We have to find the truth, and the truth says that statistically there is no better place for a child to be [than within a traditional family]. Ninety per cent of poverty can be solved simply through the affirmation of marriage," he insisted.
WCF believes that the rise of single-parent families and gay couples with children "challenge the family's very legitimacy as an institution".
According to the Guardian, Anglican pastor and theologian Mark Durie had earlier blamed family breakdown for causing "an epidemic of social problems" in the UK, and linked sexual assault with fatherless families.
Abortion was one of the key topics of the weekend, and another speaker, executive director of Family Life International Australia Paul Hanrahan, compared the practice to the escalating crisis in Iraq.
"Many people lately have been upset at the terrible atrocities being committed in the name of religion in Iraq and Syria and other places," Hanarhan said.
"Terrorists and terrorists' kids holding severed heads is certainly gruesome. Answer me this: how is it worse?"
Australian media reports that one pro-choice activist managed to enter the conference and pour fake blood over herself on stage in protest.